Look After My Bills Review: is it the best energy switching service?
Switching energy can be tiresome. You need to scour comparison websites for deals, assessing variable and fixed tariffs to work out what is best for you. Inertia causes many households to avoid switching and stick with old deals that may have expired and changed into pricey variable tariffs.
The good news is that there are now several auto-switching services that will take on the boring administration of finding and switching to a better energy deal for you and save you money.
One of the latest entrants, Look After My Bills, was founded in January 2018 by tech entrepreneur Will Hodson and former government adviser Henry de Zoete. Both were behind energy switching collective the Big Deal, which aims to get reduced tariffs for households if it can get enough people to sign up. The pair also became household names over the summer when they achieved what has been dubbed the “best equity deal” in the history of BBC series Dragons’ Den. They secured £120,000 for just a 3% share of the business from investors Tej Lalvani and Jenny Campbell. Look After My Bills has also had backing from Silicon Valley investor Y Combinator.
It has built up a base of 80,000 eager switchers and promises to save users £253 on average. What’s more, the service is absolutely free. So, is Look After My Bills any good?
How does Look After My Bills work?
Look After My Bills aims to take on all the workload of energy switching. All you have to do is locate and enter your current tariff details – which you will find on your latest bill – and then authorise the website to monitor and switch deals on your behalf.
It promises a two-minute sign-up process. First, you need to enter your email and postcode and then locate your energy supplier. The most common brands are shown first and you will need to scroll down to find smaller suppliers. There is no function to type the name of your supplier, which makes the process even faster. You will also be asked for the name of the tariff as well as your gas and electricity usage each year. This will all be on your latest energy bill. You can even specify when you sign up that you only want deals that contain 100% renewable electricity.
LAMB’s algorithm then gets to work and comes up with the best deal for you, as long as it will save you at least £50. You will only see one option and there is none of the choice you would get on a comparison website. In a lot of ways this is positive as it prevents the choice paralysis consumers often experience when using price comparison sites, whereby choice overwhelm causes them to do nothing.
If you are happy with the proposed energy tariff you then need to enter your bank details and legally authorise the website to manage switches for you. LAMB will contact your old supplier to tell them you are leaving, so you can avoid those awkward conversations with a call centre. You will then need to provide a meter reading to your old and new supplier so you can get a final bill and start saving money on your new one.
When the first deal you switch to eventually expires or a better offer becomes available, LAMB will switch you again automatically. This takes the hassle out of remembering when your tariff is set to expire and stops energy providers sneakily moving you onto their expensive standard rate tariffs. When you receive all the details about your new supplier you will have a 14 day cooling off period within which to cancel the switch. You will need to do this directly with the energy company and must also inform LAMB if you are cancelling.
Signing up to LAMB may be easy enough, but cancelling the service can be clunky as rather than doing it automatically online, you will need to email support with your postcode and cancellation in the subject line.
What products do Look After My Bills compare and switch?
LAMB currently only compares and switches energy deals.
It says it looks at the entire market, but at the same time will only switch to companies that pay it a commission. This may seem like a contradiction, but most of the main suppliers are likely to be involved as they have similar arrangements with comparison websites.
Some of the suppliers listed on LAMB include British Gas, SSE, EDF, Good Energy, Octopus, OVO and Bulb. It is worth bearing in mind that smaller players, which can often top the best buys, may not pay commissions so won’t necessarily be considered. If not every energy company is included in their comparison then there is the possibility that while you may end up on a cheaper deal you won't end up on the cheapest gas and electricity tariff possible.
LAMB has also said it plans to expand into other services including broadband and car insurance.
Will Look After My Bills always offer the best energy deals in UK?
Look After My Bills says it will offer you the best energy deal. Its algorithms scour the entire market and compare prices from every supplier based on where you live and your usage It is important not to confuse “the best” with “the cheapest.” Price isn’t the only factor it will take into account, with its formula also looking at customer service, which is important if there are ever any issues with your supply. It also looks at how easy it is to sign up and takes customer feedback into account as well as how firms are rated by independent organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau.
LAMB will only switch you if you will save at least £50 by moving, but there is the aforementioned catch. You will only be switched to energy companies that will pay a referral fee. This may exclude some energy providers but hopefully should still cover most of the market.
Pros and Cons of Look After My Bills
There is no doubt that the best way to save money on your energy bill is by switching regularly. This takes time and effort. You can do this yourself by using comparison websites and entering your current deal and energy usage to shop around and switch to new offers. But you will need to manage this whole process. Instead, you could get LAMB to do all this for you and even to let your current supplier know that you are leaving.
LAMB users can also get a £20 bonus for themselves and for any friend they recommend to the service.
The service is described as whole of market, however, you will only be transferred to suppliers that pay a commission. This does raise questions as to if some deals are excluded just because a supplier won’t pay a fee.
LAMB is only available for domestic, rather than business energy users. Also you can only use the service for dual fuel or electricity. This means you may miss out on deals where getting your gas and electricity separately would be cheaper.
You can only use the service if you are willing to pay by direct debit and have a standard electricity or economy 7 meter.
Additionally, while LAMB may move you to a better rate, you will only get the best savings by providing regular meter readings. The onus remains on you for that one. If you don’t provide regular meter readings your usage will be estimated, which could work out more expensive than necessary.
It is also worth checking out LAMB’s customer service reviews. Its rating on reviews website Trustpilot is broadly positive but there have been some complaints about switches failing or taking too long and sometimes not being available or not ending up any cheaper.
How does Look After My Bills make money?
The LAMB service is free to users but it makes money by taking a commission from the energy companies that it switches people to. This is the same amount whichever the energy company, so there is no risk of bias, and it promises only to switch you to companies it trusts and who provide good customer service.
Look After My Bills Alternatives
There are alternatives to LAMB that assess your usage and highlight deals that could save you money on your energy, but all of them work slightly differently
The MoneySavingExpert Cheap Energy Club, set up by Martin Lewis, is a free service that scours the market to find subscribers the cheapest deal. It won’t automatically switch you but will send an email alert when you could save money. You can set your alerts by how much you want to save on your energy. MSE Cheap Energy Club will get a commission from some of the suppliers if you switch and users can also earn up to £25 cashback.
Another service, Flipper, scours the market for deals that can save you at least £50 on your energy bills. Its scope is arguably wider as it doesn’t rely on suppliers that will pay a commission, instead charging a £25 annual membership fee after your first switch.
Comparison website GoCompare has its own switching service called Weflip. Its algorithm will identify deals that could save you at least £50 and it will then automatically move you. Similar to GoCompare, Weflip will get a fee from a supplier if you switch to them.
Another switching service, Labrador, similarly searches the market on a monthly basis but will only change your deal if you can save £80 or more. You can either let Labrador automatically manage your switch or approve its recommendations first. It will also take a commission from providers.
Look After My Bills is a useful service that will save you the time and hassle of constantly finding a new deal and dealing with your old supplier. It takes the legwork out of comparing prices and understanding what different tariffs mean. But whichever service you use, the best savings will come from providing regular and accurate meter readings to your supplier, so switching to a better deal is really just the beginning.
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