Have you changed your energy supplier regularly? If you answer “no” to this question because you missed the notice period or find the choice of tariff and change of provider too exhausting, you need support from a professional. This continues to apply even in the current energy crisis.
A change service – ideal for the lazy
Switching services – also called tariff monitors or switching service – are such professionals. Every year they look for a cheap tariff, change providers and mediate between suppliers and customers. If a change is not worthwhile, tell your customers honestly. With their help, even easy-going people can reduce their energy costs if there are cheaper tariffs on the market. Most switching services charge a commission for their service of 20 to 30 percent of the savings that the customer was able to realize by switching. The first exchange service came onto the market in 2014.
Long-term test for gas tariffs of almost two years
We wanted to know how reliable these gas tariff changers are? What tasks do you take on from customers? That’s why we looked at seven exchange services in a long-term test spanning almost two years. With their help, test households switched to a new gas supplier twice. All services scored at least “recommended”. However, these results refer to the time before the energy crisis, when households were able to save a lot by switching tariffs and suppliers were attracted by high bonuses for new customers. Therefore, our detailed test results for individual providers no longer apply. However, in a brief follow-up, we found that we can continue to recommend the use of an exchange service to customers who are not comfortable.
Selection. If you want to save on energy costs but don’t want to worry about changing your electricity or gas supplier yourself, a switching service is the first choice. Your advantage: Communication with your supplier also runs via the service – they usually set up an e-mail account for you for this purpose. Our instructions (How to use an exchange service) show you the easiest way to get a contract. If you prefer to take care of choosing the tariff and changing providers yourself, comparison portals for electricity and gas are more suitable for you.
Landlord. All exchange services can also be used by landlords of apartment buildings with gas central heating. Here, too, the exchange service regularly checks whether it makes sense for the property manager or landlord to sign a new contract.
Tasks. The exchange service does all the work. However, you must be reachable by email and check your mailbox regularly. If your supplier writes you a letter – about a price increase, for example – you must forward it to the exchange service.
Current. You can find more information about changing electricity providers or changing gas providers in our specials.
Follow-up of the long-term test
We continued the long-term test and looked at the tariff proposals our testers received for the third year of the contract. This was possible in 14 test households. Your offer is from this year.
The good news: ten testers were advised to stay with the current tariff because there is currently no cheaper offer on the market for them. This approach is serious. After all, the services live on commissions, which only flow when the contract is changed. Although they don’t earn anything, the change helpers made a recommendation in the interests of the customers. Four testers received a recommendation to change, where they could either save money or get a new price guarantee for twelve months at the same costs.
However, our review also showed that the services became active again if a price increase came later. They then checked the new price and informed the household if there was a cheaper offer. However, if the price increase comes by post, the customer must forward it to the exchange service. All in all, we can continue to recommend exchange services for convenient customers.
Readers had bad experiences at Remind.me
We found no abnormalities in our 14 test households. However, two readers were annoyed by the provider Remind.me. Walter K.* had commissioned the company to switch electricity providers. In the first year, its annual price dropped by an impressive 841 euros.
In September 2022, Remind.me – five months before the end of the contract – arranged the switch to Hanwha Q Cells. Walter K.* should now pay almost 1,000 euros more per year. In the future, a kilowatt hour will cost 77.85 cents. Even in the current situation, it is a fairly expensive offer.
Remind.me says so
We confronted Remind.me. They told us that price certainty is the most important thing for them. They assume that the price at Vattenfall will be higher than 77.85 cents in February 2023. “Prefer a tariff for 12-24 months with a corresponding price guarantee … instead of receiving an even greater price increase after the minimum contract period has expired.”
Walter K.* has now looked for an offer with a price guarantee from the local utility Eins Energie. It’s €647 cheaper than Remind.me’s suggestion.
Change despite price guarantee
Another Remind.me customer also switched to the Q Cells tariff, although he still had an ongoing price guarantee for 12 months with Vattenfall. In this case, the price guarantee was longer than the initial contract period. That is why the change could take place. When we asked, Remind.me acknowledged the error and made sure that the customer could stay on his old contract.
This change was possible because Remind.me has a special feature: The customer changes automatically, i.e. he only finds out about the tariff change after it has been carried out. If he does not like the new tariff, he must use his 14-day right of withdrawal directly with the provider. The old contract is then already terminated.
* Editor’s name known.