Millions of people are waking up to just how much money they are wasting on their energy bills. The fact is, plenty of us don’t realise that we’re on tariffs which are actually costing us more money than we need to be paying. Plenty of people just find it convenient to stay put. That’s because switching energy suppliers or tariffs, in the past, was something of a hassle.
However, there are recent trends that show people are using energy auto switching instead. This, as the name suggests, revolves around you automatically moving energy suppliers or tariffs. Rather than keeping an eye on your bills yourself, you can rely on an automated service to make sure you’re getting the best possible deals.
Two of the biggest names out there offering such as service right now are Look After My Bills and Switchcraft. Both have received a lot of fantastic press in recent months. But what does auto switching actually involve? Is it easy to get into? Is it free?
I thought I’d take a quick look at the phenomenon and compare the two services to see if it’s all really worth the effort. Have you used either of the services before? Let me know in the comments, as well as if you agree or disagree with my findings.
Look After My Bills vs Switchcraft: Quick Summary
Not got time to read the whole article right now? Here’s a quick summary of the main points.
- Both Look After My Bills and Switchcraft are free auto switching services. Both are paid through commission given to them by the suppliers they switch you to.
- Look After My Bills could save you up to £250 per year on average, Switchcraft, allegedly, could offer you more.
- Look After My Bills offers a responsible approach and will only compare between suppliers with good reputations. However, this means that it has a much smaller field of suppliers than most platforms.
- Both services will switch you at the end of your contract. This means no exit fees, but it also means less flexibility.
- Switchcraft seems to have the upper hand in terms of how you can narrow down the tariffs you want. Switchcraft also, allegedly, has a wider selection of suppliers than many free services elsewhere.
- Switchcraft will support prepayment meters.
- It seems to be worth using a free auto switcher if you know you are losing a lot of money through energy bills. Otherwise, there are plenty of other reasons to switch providers.
- You might not get that much power or control over what you switch to. Some people may find this a little off-putting.
What is Energy Auto Switching?
As the name suggests, energy auto-switching is where you’ll let an app or service manage energy switches for you. There’s no need for you to muddle around calling energy suppliers or comparing tariffs.
This means that you effectively ask a middleman to keep an eye on what you’re paying, and if there’s a deal which works better for you based on your profile and usage, it will go ahead and do all the switching on your behalf.
This sounds all well and good, but how does it work in practice? Can people feel safe and assured that it’s worth handing over their energy details?
How Does It Work?
Consider a price comparison website. When you find a deal through a site such as Compare The Market or Confused.com, you’ll need to enter in some crucial details in order for your comparison to complete. An energy auto switching system will often work in the same way.
You’ll need to enter in some information pertaining to your energy usage. For example, this might include recent readings, suppliers you’re with and the services you use. Basically, an auto switch service will want to know as much as possible about your energy usage so that it can make concrete decisions further down the line on your behalf.
Then, with your data in hand, a switcher will monitor tariffs on the market and what big energy providers are currently offering to customers. If a better deal comes up, a switcher will automatically move you onto it.
To do this, they will contact all parties involved. This means that they will arrange the switch at your current supplier’s end and will get in touch with a new supplier to set up a deal. To many people, this will sound amazingly helpful! It certainly saves having to mess around with any paperwork and calling around.
But does it all sound too good to be true? To find out, I took a look into both Look After My Bills and Switchcraft to see what makes them tick – and which, if either, is worth going for.
Look After My Bills Review
Is Look After My Bills Free?
Yes. Look After My Bills is completely free, which means all you need to worry about is supplying a few details to get started. It works by comparing deals through its available system from suppliers it works with and will aim to save you at least £50 on your regular bills. If it can’t save you at least this amount of money, it won’t make the switch for you.
That sounds like a really good deal – and apparently, if you believe the hype, customers on the service could save up to £250 per year. That’s always worth looking into.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that, after a bit of digging, the service doesn’t seem to switch you around as often as you might like. In fact, Look After My Bills is only ever going to switch you when you’re at the end of your deal. Then again, this means you’ll save on paying exit costs.
How Does Look After My Bills Make Money?
Look After My Bills makes money through commission. This means that companies who partner with the service will pay them a specific amount for each customer they convert. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
What’s more, Look After My Bills does seem to be a responsible platform. They won’t switch you to companies that don’t meet stringent tests, such as customer care standards. That’s likely to make a difference to a lot of people. Therefore, it won’t make cash for the sake of it from companies that treat their customers poorly.
In fact, you can actually make more money using the service by referring people. You and a friend can claim £20 each when you both switch.
Do They Compare Every Available Energy Provider?
No, but that’s not always a bad thing. Look After My Bills thoroughly vets energy providers. This means that even if there’s a chance for them to make money through an unscrupulous service, they won’t. Some people might not like the fact that there’s a shorter range of providers than through energy switchers elsewhere, though I think it’s all for the greater good.
It’s worth noting that the service only compares services which offer it commission. Therefore, there’s potentially an even smaller field of suppliers to switch to. However, the service has to make money somehow, meaning I feel that’s just business sense.
Look After My Bills Pros and Cons
Ok – so, let’s see how Look After My Bills really measures up. On the face of things, it’s a great deal. However, there are a few niggles that some people might find a bit off-putting. It’s all worth addressing.
- Look After My Bills will let you sign up and switch for free. This means you only have to share your data to get started.
- It’ll compare you with suppliers it deems responsible. Therefore, you won’t get lumbered with an unscrupulous provider.
- It makes money through suppliers which pay the service commission.
- However, it will only switch you at the end of your contract. This, at least, means there are no exit fees.
- Thanks to its commission basis and its strict filtering, there are fewer suppliers to switch between here than through other switching services.
- Some reviewers and experts suggest that potential savings through Look After My Bills may not actually be worth it compared to other systems.
Is Switchcraft Free?
Let’s take a look at Switchcraft, then. Switchcraft works similarly to Look After My Bills in the sense that it’s completely free. Therefore, again, all you’re ever going to need to do is supply a few details and you’re away. This is likely to be immediately appealing to anyone looking to save time and money. I’d wager that’s most of us, to be honest.
Therefore, Switchcraft and Look After My Bills are likely to be the leading names in free switching. Paid energy switchers tend to offer a lot more scope as they don’t depend on commission. However, many people will likely feel it’s worth shortening the field for the sake of a free service.
How Does Switchcraft Make Money?
Switchcraft makes money the exact same way that Look After My Bills generates income. They receive commission from energy suppliers who are willing to pay them referring new customers. Therefore, as mentioned, this means you may end up with a smaller field of suppliers than what you’d expect from a paid service.
Switchcraft only makes money when you switch towards the end of your contract. Once again, this is very similar to Look After My Bills. However, it seems that there are a few more variables with Switchcraft. Here, you can fine-tune the tariffs it looks for, meaning that if you want to specifically avoid exit fees, you can. However, it’s worth noting that Look After My Bills avoids exit fees automatically.
Therefore, as it’s starting to seem, there’s not that much to contrast between the two switchers. However, I’ll address this shortly.
Do They Compare Every Energy Provider?
No. Once again, Switchcraft is a service that works to a pretty narrow field thanks to its commission basis. This means if you are looking for a wider variety of providers and suppliers, you’re likely going to need to pay for a switcher elsewhere.
In fact, it might be rare that you find a service that compares every energy provider. I’d be interested to hear if there are any readers out there who have used both free and paid switchers. Is it really worth leaping from one supplier to another frequently for the sake of saving a bit of money in the bargain?
Switchcraft Pros and Cons
Switchcraft is very similar to Look After My Bills. It works to the same commission system and is also completely free to use. However, again, there are a few points to consider.
- Switchcraft offers no fees and reportedly lets you switch between a larger base of suppliers than many free platforms.
- All you need to do is supply a few details and the service will act on your behalf.
- It will even support prepayment meters, and will let you filter down the tariffs you want to move to down to a fine art.
- It’ll also switch you towards the end of your contract, meaning that you can avoid exit fees.
- However, again, as it’s free, you’re likely to get fewer suppliers to compare between. To many people, this might not be an issue.
- The end-of-contract switching system is probably going to be a point of contention for some people. Some users might want to switch regularly providing they are on a tariff without exit fees.
When Should You Switch Energy Provider?
Generally, it’s worth switching energy provider as soon as it seems your rates are set to go up. In many cases, people end up getting put on ‘default’ tariffs. This often happens when you come towards the end of a specific deal. Therefore, it’s worth keeping an eye on when your current deal expires, even if you don’t use an auto switching service.
Generally, as the two switchers above suggest, it’s worth getting out of your current situation towards the end of a contract. That’s because plenty of tariffs out there still charge you exit fees, even if you jump ship a month or two off the end. It’s always worth reading your contracts carefully.
It’s often not worth changing supplier otherwise unless the savings are set to be massive. Both Switchcraft and Look After My Bills allege that they could save you more than £250 per year on average. That all depends on when you jump ship. As stated, both will switch you only when your contract’s up.
Is It Worth Switching Energy Provider?
It’s worth switching energy providers for more than just cost saving. For example, if you find that your energy provider is hardly providing you with the customer care you deserve, it’s worth looking elsewhere. If you feel that your provider has a less than stellar reputation, once again, it’s worth jumping ship.
This is where auto switching can fall down a little. Most auto switchers focus on moving you based on savings. Even if it’s as little as £50, a platform will move you across without generally considering other points of contention.
However, Look After My Bills does seem to have the edge in this regard. They already lead with an ethos where the companies they switch you to are those with good reputations. Therefore, there’s less for you to worry about when it comes to moving across.
Therefore, it’s worth switching energy provider if you really think you’re getting the hard end of the bargain. There’s a lot of movement in the energy trade right now, and with Brexit set to come into full effect in January 21, it might not be too surprising to start seeing tariffs and fees going further upwards.
Final Thoughts on Energy Auto Switching
Auto switching is a great idea in principle. However, there are more reasons to switch suppliers than just money and saving the odd bit of cash. In some cases, auto switching might not save you that much at all. It all depends on your own personal circumstances, and the relationship you have with your current supplier.
Auto switching does also take away a bit of power from the user, as well as hassle. You won’t often be able to choose who you move to. Both Switchcraft and Look After My Bills will do this all for you on an automated basis. That’s not going to appeal to everyone.
Look After My Bills has the edge when it comes to narrowing down responsible suppliers. However, that does potentially make things limited. Switchcraft seems to offer more in the way of filtering, giving you a little more power and choice before you start automating the process.
Otherwise, both services are fairly similar. Both are free, both get paid through commission, and both will only ever switch you when you’re near the end of your contract. There are pros and cons to all these points.
Therefore, it’s really down to the individual user. Are you interested in auto switching your energy suppliers? Have you already tried either of these services, or a paid platform? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below and share your findings with the community.