Haggling down the cost of your utilities 

I was listening to Chris Evans on the radio recently and he was relating the story of a woman who spent two hours on the phone to her utility companies threatening to leave and negotiating a better price with each. She eventually saved herself £2000! That is a good use of two hours of anybody’s time 😀.

I have never actually done them all in one go but I do shop around every time something is due for renewal, such as car and house insurance, to get a good price. However, I read reviews and if people are complaining about them I look elsewhere.

One thing I don’t intend to change is my energy provider, Good Energy. I switched to them after a horrific experience with First Utility, who tried to overcharge me by thousands. Their levels of customer service when I tried to get it sorted were appalling. Never again! Good Energy charges reasonable prices, produces all its energy from renewable sources and its customer service is the best I have ever experienced. I’m going nowhere! Sometimes the cheapest sounding deal isn’t worth it. I really recommend this company and, no, they haven’t paid me to say that! 

A year ago my water company offered me a great deal on emergency plumbing insurance, £6.50 for the whole year. At that price, why not? Last week I got a renewal letter and the price was £96.48 for the year, £8.04 a month. I didn’t think I needed this, so rang to cancel. I was then offered a reduced price of £75 for the year. When I refused again this went down to £55 for the year, or £45 if I had a £50 excess. The poor salesman had his work cut out with me and finally accepted I was cancelling. It did make me think though! Never accept the first price you are given!

Have you saved money by haggling down the price of your bills? 

8 thoughts on “Haggling down the cost of your utilities 

  1. Although not a utility company, last year the AA’s breakdown cover renewal was upped by 100%. Yes, 100%. Did they think I would stand for this? So I phoned and threatened to go elsewhere as a new customer and get preferential treatment. I was no longer a new customer with the AA, so wasn’t getting preferential treatment, obviously! Why, if I’ve not needed to call the AA for roadside help, should my renwal be 100% more expensive than the year before, it didn’t make sense. In the end I got it reduced to just a few pounds more than what I’d been paying. I don’t mind a small price rise – prices tend to go up – but I wasn’t prepared to pay double what I had been paying. As soon as I threatened to go elsewhere (and I meant it), there was a bit change of attitude and miraculously the price dropped.
    With the utility companies I feel I have quite a good deal with mine. I don’t want the hassle of changing unless I really need to.
    Margaret P

      • We have always got a better deal with car insurance by phoning around. Most utility companies seem incapable of administering their customers accounts and trying to correct errors is a frustrating and tiring experience. My worst experience was with Scottishpower and First Utility were little better. The Government and consumer organisations continually recommend shopping around to get the cheapest deal but actually it is enormous hassle to change provider despite what they say and, as you point out, decent customer service can sometimes over-ride the cheapest deal.

  2. My energy bills are around £750 per year in total, and I have always had decent customer service so I have never been tempted to change. For me, it’s not worth the aggravation for a couple of quid in savings. I always shop around for insurance etc though, and if a contract is up on anything I always ring and say I am cancelling so that I get a better deal.

  3. I have a brilliant gas & elc provider; but when I heard that there was a better tarrif being offered by the same company, I contacted them online and my tarrif was changed immediately to the lower price option. A saving of £200-300/yr with just an email. Worth trying.

  4. That was one of the biggest shocks when we returned to the UK after living in America – the lack of customer loyalty incentives with insurances. Normally they automatically reduce your premium if you renew and give further discounts if you bundle your insurances together with them, eg home and car together!

    I was with Green Star Energy (which also had good green credentials) last year and worked up an £800 credit by the end of the year thanks to solar panels just before we started with them!!
    There was no way they could match the new lower deals we were offered so we switched to Bristol Energy. They seem good so far but want a meter reading every single month, which I don’t remember Green Star doing.
    I’m not sure I trust the DD quote they gave me (£35 dual fuel a month) so am putting £100 p/m into my contingency fund in case we end up having underpaid at renewal time – which is still lower than we were paying with Green Star and w-a-y lower than what we were paying with Scottish Power! Hey we were newly returned and didn’t know any better then! 😀

    • That does seem low Julia but I’m sure the solar panels make a big difference. I would love some

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