Have you heard of the 49 day rule?
I saw this article in the news this week and I was both surprised and disappointed. Surprised to hear that behaviour like this is still occurring and that some of the largest energy suppliers in the UK are perpetuating it and disappointed, not only in their questionable practices, but in the lack of awareness that exists around energy bills.
I know energy bills are not the most exciting topic and I understand that despite the fact we all use copious amounts of the stuff every day, very little is known about this almost essential utility. Still, considering that, for many households in the UK, energy costs make up more than 10% of outgoings you would think people would pay a little bit more attention. You wouldn’t run a car without a fuel gauge now would you?
I think it is important then that we take some time to help people understand their bills and the energy market. So, here goes…
The 49 day rule.
1) On average it takes just under a month to switch your energy supplier, with more plans to speed this up, but we, as consumers will always have the safety net of a 14 day cooling off period within which we can cancel a switch.
2) If you are on a fixed price tariff and it comes to the end of its term, you will default onto the energy suppliers “Standard Variable Tariff” this is a bad thing, SVT’s are expensive, and they should be avoided at all costs.
Still with me? If you were to wait until the end of your fixed term before switching, you could end up paying more than necessary for up to 6 weeks. The 49 day rule is designed to allow you to switch away from your fixed price deal up to 49 days before it comes to an end, so you neither have to pay any expensive cancellation fees, nor end up on an expensive SVT. And in a nutshell, that is it, I hope that makes sense?
The moral of the story is, switch to a fixed rate deal at least each year and when you switch again, make sure you do it in the final 49 days of your tariff. You will be better off and the world will seem like a better place… temporarily at least.