Saving money on your parents’ energy bills
Latest update for June 2020: For information about how to manage bills and get a better energy deal, visit Citizens Advice.
This article has been updated in January 2019. Schemes and prices change all the time. For up-to-date information, it is worth visiting the Money Saving Expert’s website.
We’ve searched far and wide to find some useful information that may save your parents a bit of money on their energy bills. Whether you or your parents manage their gas and electricity, we’ve compiled some handy tips to help clarify those complex energy bills.
The choices depend on how your parents feel about you getting involved. If you and they are happy for you to take over, then the only hurdle is convincing the supplier that you’re authorised to do so.
If your parents are content to keep on top of finances themselves, then one option is to do the research online, and pass the information on. The problem with this approach is that often the best deals are only available online. So the final choice is to do it together from your computer.
Top tips for getting the best deals and service:
- According to MoneySupermarket it’s generally 10% cheaper to pay your bills by direct debit.
- Often energy suppliers will only deal with the account holder which means that unless your impersonation skills are up to scratch you’ll fall at the first hurdle. Account security is hard to bypass. Most suppliers have a Priority Services Register that your parents can request to join which should grant you easy access to your parents account.
- If you feel like you’ve been on hold with your parents’ provider for rather too long and their customer service isn’t what it should be try hanging up and calling through to their “customer complaints” or “account cancellation” department. Energy suppliers don’t want to lose customers and usually will deal with customers that take this route far sooner than if you jump through the automated system.
- Online tariffs are cheaper but they often come at a price. You’ll have to access the billing system online and you are not likely to receive paper bills, in fact only a handful of online tariffs send out paper bills, requested or not, and some actually charge you extra if you want a paper copy.
- Switching your elderly parents to a new energy supplier creates an opportunity to intercept the communication between your parents and their provider. If you’re acting on your parents’ behalf, in paying their energy bills, you can give the company your number so they can solely deal with you which also prevents them from making unwelcome sales calls to your parents’ home.
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