Monday 23rd of August 2021 | Posted In: News and Views

Would an Online Only Contract be of benefit to me?

With energy prices rising at an exponential rate, shopping around is more important than ever.  In these challenging times energy suppliers are having to really push themselves to think outside the box to offer more competitive prices on to Customers. 

In a world that is rapidly evermore focussed on doing everything online – and where the best deals often reserved for the ‘internet savvy’ – how much extra are customers willing to pay for being able to speak to somebody on the phone?

What is an online price?

A substantial proportion of an energy price is the suppliers ‘Cost to Serve’. This key part means the supplier’s customer service team keeps to their commitments to ensure that the contract runs smoothly.

An online price is a new type of contract that has a reduced Cost to Serve built into the unit rates. This affects service levels in the following ways:.

  • Online Servicing – Customers lose the normal customer service channels of telephone and email but instead use a supplier portal to submit readings, access their bills and use online chat for any queries.
  • Smart Metering - Suppliers make it mandatory for the customer to install a Smart Meter (if they don’t already have one in place) to ensure more accurate invoices. In other words, suppliers do not want to pass on a lower rate only to be hit with multiple meters reads or additional billing work.
  • Direct Debit Payment Only - the requirement to set up and pay via Direct Debit is a key part of the Online version.  Again, the energy supplier wants a ‘clean’ method of payment based on accurate readings which means the supplier does not have to spend time and resource chasing debt.

What are the benefits of an online price?

With no call centres needed, online prices reduce the cost to serve for the supplier and in turn, pass the savings onto to you. Overall, the decision to accept an online option will benefit some more than others.  The savings could range from £15 up to £1500 (dependant on usage) or approximately 10%. 

Who is it best suited to?

If cost is a key driver for you, this option may be a no brainer. Especially in a fast-rising market. 

If you are up-to-date with smart phones and the internet, then the online version may be little more than just another app.  However, for those that prefer postal communication and the ability to pick up a phone to speak to a human, you might arrive at the decision to pass on this new way of doing things. As with any contract procured through us, regardless of being ‘Online Only’ or otherwise, NFU Energy will still be at the end of the phone with advice when needed.

If you would like to see if the online prices, we currently have could save you money on your renewal, please give the team a call on 024 7669 8885.