Two sides to every story – apparently I was ‘prickly’ to a journalist when he followed me in the street!

I was slightly shocked today to read a journalist having a go at me for being ‘prickly’. That certainly isn’t my way. Here’s what Jim Armitage wrote in The Independent


Too grand to talk to journalists?

I interviewed MoneySupermarket boss Peter Plumb for a big profile article at his swanky corner office near Soho on Wednesday evening.

On my way in, I bumped into Martin Lewis, the financial journalist who sold Mr Plumb’s company his website, MoneySavingExpert.com, for £80m a few years back.

In his journalistic capacity, Mr Lewis is always on the radio and TV, so, as a fellow hack, I introduced myself and asked if he could give me a quote about Mr Plumb for my article. “Talk to my PR people,” he huffed, breezing off into the afternoon sun.

I wondered if a bit of cash would make me that grand, too. Mr Plumb’s worked with a lot of entrepreneurs in his career: Sir James Dyson, Simon Nixon (founder of MoneySupermarket), and the founders of the Dunnhumby data group, which devised the Tesco Clubcard. He assured me these self-made men aren’t as prickly as they seem.

It’s not that they’re being rude, he assured me, it’s just that they’re more interested in what gets said, than how you say it. Diplomacy is clearly one of Mr Plumb’s strengths.

Now let me explain to you what happened from my perspective.

I was leaving the MSE Towers office building via the front door, late for a meeting. A man I’ve never met starts following me down the street. I turn around and he says: “I’m a journalist for the Evening Standard, I’m doing a piece on Peter Plumb, as I’ve seen you can I ask you a few questions?”

Now I have no idea who he is, and I’m late, so my response simply was: “Can you go through my press team? They handle media requests.” Which they do – people call up and make appointments, that’s how it usually works.

He never did get in touch. If he did I would’ve happily spoken to him.

I’m slightly surprised that he thinks that on an off chance by following me down the street I should drop everything – even though I have prior commitments – and that asking him to arrange it at a time that’s more convenient is somehow unreasonable.

Still he managed to get a story out of it. And now so have I!

Student loan hike: Meeting with Universities Minister to propose mitigation measures

Student loan repayments are being retrospectively hiked from April 2017 – so 100,000s of students and graduates who started uni since 2012 will pay more than they signed up for. In my view, this is against natural justice. So, I’ve been campaigning on it, and today had a meeting with Jo Johnson, Universities Minister, to come up with suggestions to mitigate the damage.

In a nutshell, from April 2017 the level at which student loans are repaid after university was due to rise, in line with average earnings, above £21,000. Last November the Government announced this was being frozen. That means people will pay more than they signed up for, both month-by-month, and in most cases £1,000s more in total in the 30 years before the debt wipes.

The worst thing about this is how can future students trust the system if they know the Government can change the deal once they’ve already signed up?

Before I explain where we are now, if you’re not up to speed, here are links to past blogs that tell the story and explain in more detail…

– Help fight the Government’s student loan U-turn: Read this for a full background of why this is such an issue.
– I’ve hired lawyers to investigate judicial reviewing Govt’s retrospective student loan hike
– The scrapping of student grants – what it means and how bad is it?
– An open letter to David Cameron on the student loan hike
– David Cameron snubs my student loan hike letter: Instead he arranged for me to meet Jo Johnson, which happened today.

My current strategy is twofold. I would like the whole policy reversed. After campaigning, consulting, getting hundreds of people to write to their MPs, I don’t think any protest will make a difference – only a legal challenge. Sadly, the legal advice I’ve had suggests a judicial review won’t work; the next option is to look at whether it is challengeable on contractual terms.

The other tactic – if this is going to happen – is trying to see what can be done to mitigate the damage. And that was the mainstay of my meeting today. After expressing my complete objection to this retrospective hike, I came up with a number of suggestions, which I’ve put below (mostly in note form).

I’ve put them in order of ease and likelihood. I was pleased that the minister was reasonably receptive to some of them, so you never know…

  • Tell affected students. Every student who has taken out a loan since 2012 should be written to, to explain the threshold will be frozen and not increased as planned. It should include practical examples of what that means.
  • Future student loan applications and all official marketing must clarify that terms and conditions might change. While it’s mentioned in the small print currently, the Student Loans Company should put tangibly and up front on loan applications what the key terms are – and what can be changed retrospectively. Or, at the very least, a warning that these terms aren’t fixed.
  • People in financial crisis should have the option of deferment or a temporary payment reduction. Graduates must be able to apply for a deferment or temporary reduction in payments, so that the retrospective hike does not harm people who are in financial crisis. This includes people who are in debt crisis, are supporting other family members, and in any other extenuating circumstances.

    This could be done either by deferring payments (and in most cases that would mean an overall cost reduction as most people won’t make it up before the 30 years when the debt wipes) or by setting up a fund which meets payments for them.

  • The FCA ‘treating customers fairly’ principle should apply to student loans. There are six consumer outcomes that commercial lenders have to strive to achieve to ensure they ‘treat their customers fairly’. Among the six aims, lenders have to provide borrowers with clear information and keep them appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale.

    Lenders also have to make sure that consumers are provided with products that perform “as firms have led them to expect”. Plus, the associated service is of an acceptable standard and as they have been led to expect.

    The Student Loans Company should be subject to these regulations, or at the very least a mirroring of these regulations within its own internal adjudication structures.

  • Student loan terms and conditions should be locked into statute. This would mean that students can have certainty that what they sign up for is what they will get. I suspect this is unlikely.

    If not, a transparent process must exist for retrospective changes to student finance. The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee should have to approve retrospective changes to student loans. This would be similar to how the Treasury Select Committee has to scrutinise and approve appointments for the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Please let me know what you think and any other mitigation suggestions (I can always add addendums) below.

A UK-record 135,000 people switched energy in the MSE collective switch 4

The MSE collective switch 4 closed last Thursday, and we’ve been blown away, bowled over and victim of at least four other clichés by its success.

The first three collective switches had seen 67,000, 72,000 and 86,000 people change their energy supplier – and each of those was in turn the UK’s biggest ever. Yet this is in a different league.

The stats:

  • MSE collective switch started: 2 February
  • MSE collective switch lasted: 16 days
  • Total number of collective switches: 135,000
  • Total number of switches via Cheap Energy Club during the period: 155,000
    (usually the collectives are the cheapest, but for some they’re not. We show a full market comparison, so some do choose others)
  • Likely total savings on energy bills: c. £60m
    (based on typical usage, we don’t have exact figure yet)
  • Total cashback to be paid out: £4m
    (we get paid £60 per dual fuel switch and give half back in cashback, the rest goes to cover suppliers, pay costs and hopefully make us some profit)
  • Likely percentage of first-time switchers: 60%
    (based on previous collectives as we don’t have the data yet – collectives encourage first timers to switch far more than normal)
  • For comparison, in a typical 16-day period across the whole UK, there are 250,000 switches

Did you miss it? If you did there are still huge savings available by switching tariff, typically £300 per home. It only takes five minutes – just use our Cheap Energy Club.

What was so good about this collective?

Our lead deal was from British Gas. While much is made of new entrants to the market, and indeed that’s something I support, many people just want to stick with a brand they know. And to get that at a price that undercuts every other supplier on the market seemed to be a winning combination.

Indeed anecdotally we heard from many people who have elderly parents who have always refused to switch.

So the ability to simply switch their tariff not their firm – so a switch from British Gas to a cheaper British Gas tariff and save typically £300 a year, plus £30 cashback – made it an easy bit of persuasion.

Here’s just a selection of tweets we received.

And even one man on BBC One’s Question Time commented on it. Here’s Nick Rendel’s question submitted to the programme…

“My 87-year-old mother pays 50% more than me for electricity. Why has Ofgem been so hopeless at protecting the vulnerable?”

And what he said:

“Actually she’s not anymore. I changed it at the weekend. I only discovered it at the weekend and we’ve sorted it out.

“I am concerned about people who don’t have internet access and can’t access the sainted Martin Lewis’s website to get the best prices on the market, which are incredibly lower than the standard rate price that 70% of the population are paying.”

Before I buff my halo, I think there were other factors at play here too.

  • The timing was strong. Energy was in the news with the big six all announcing price cuts during the collective – of course the savings from these are trivial in comparison with the savings from switching in the collective.
  • The fact that due to a rule change you had to be pre-registered to get this collective, so we had to pre-announce that the collective was coming, helped too. Also, the fact numbers were capped (albeit at a high level) seems to have made people engage more quickly.
  • Of course the fact that we do all the checks, ensure boosted customer service, and make sure we follow up if anyone is having problems helps too (huge thanks to MSE Archna, Dan, Rose, Roxanne and the rest of the energy team, who’ve worked very hard arranging this and answering over 5,000 queries).

And of course, as successful as this one is, we hope to do more in future – as long as the deals are good enough. Don’t let that put you off switching now though, if you haven’t.

Hilton Hotels is suggesting that if you’re broke, you should spend £129 a night on its hotels

This is a marketing fail. I’ve just received the following press release from Hilton Hotels, which is one of the most ill-judged I’ve seen in a while. Someone at it, or its PR firm Grayling (whoever wrote it) needs to get in the real world. It either shows a firm totally out of touch or a very poor piece of PR that no one has given any real thought to.

Here’s the introduction of it…

The best broke-ations, city breaks that won’t break the bank

Are you feeling the pinch after shopping for Christmas and partying at New Year? We all are! But this doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home feeling sorry for yourself. If someone told you that you could go on holiday even after your Christmas spending, would you believe them? Hilton Worldwide has put together a list of the best broke-ations, city breaks that won’t break the bank.

Sunshine on a budget

Dubai

If you’re seeking a bit of sunshine during these dreary months, but don’t want to go overboard, Hilton Dubai is the place for you. From just 129 GBP per night, the hotel offers you a home away from home in the Port Rashid district of Dubai. Why don’t you hop on the Dubai Metro and discover all that Dubai offers. The convenient location makes the hotel a great place to stay.

It then continues with a range of other hotels some admittedly in the ‘from £40 to £60’ a night price range.

Now I’ve nothing against people paying £129 for a hotel room (as long as it’s good value and not available cheaper elsewhere) so if it wants to advertise these as discounted – as long as they’re cheaper than normal, all is fine.

Yet portraying this as a holiday for people who are “broke” is poor taste. The dictionary definition of broke is “having completely run out of money” – I think perhaps in that case £903 a week for a hotel is quite a lot, and of course let’s remember you still have to pay for the flight. Plus these are “from prices”, in other words, you’ll likely pay more.

I suspect some ‘blue sky creative thinking’ marketing team came up with the word “broke-ations” as a nice wheeze, but then the products they chose to connect it to are mis-targeted and brand negative. Back to the drawing board.

Can a store charge more than its website? Plus other questions about pricing.

When is a price fair? It’s a question I’m often asked in a variety of incarnations. The problem with it is it presupposes that prices need to be fair – generally in the UK fairness is about communication and transparency rather than the actual rate you pay. Yet I want to take a few minutes and bash out a blog to answer some of the most common questions.

  1. Can a store charge more than its website?
    Quite simply, yes. We don’t have price regulation in the UK – there is nothing obliging a store to homogenise pricing over its various outlets. As long as it is clear in its pricing and not misleading, it could charge £1 for a toothbrush online and £20 in store.

    Obviously, though, if it has a click and collect service this would be slightly ridiculous – but it isn’t impossible.

  2. Can a supermarket charge more in its smaller or express stores than in its main supermarkets?
    Again it’s a yes. These are just a different format of store. Supermarkets often argue express stores are more expensive due to a ‘convenience premium’, or that it is costlier to keep them stocked. Whether the economics of that add up or not is irrelevant, they can say what they like and price what they like.

    Let’s remember we live in a world where you’ll often find a 500ml bottle of soft drink that can cost more than a two-litre bottle due to ‘convenience pricing’.

  3. Can a store charge different amounts in different stores?
    As you’re probably realising by now, this one is a yes too. And in fact, here there’s an added complication as some stores of the same name and the same brand may actually be franchise operations that have different ownership. This is one of the reasons why you may sometimes be turned down for a refund or return if you go to a different branch.

    The only issue here could be if a store was advertising a promotion and indicated it could be obtained from all of its branches – that could be a breach of ASA rules.

  4. If a store has mispriced an item can I get it for that price?
    Many believe if they see an item underpriced in store, they should pounce, and grab it. Well that’s probably true as some stores will sell it to you at the mispriced amount – however if they refuse to, you don’t have any rights. Stores don’t have to sell any of their goods – they can simply say “no sale”.

    However, if you were to alert it to a pricing error and then it didn’t correct it, and kept advertising the item at that rate, report it to Trading Standards as it’s not following consumer protection regulations.

    There is a silver lining to this – just because something does have a price tag on, doesn’t mean that price is fixed. So if you want to pay less, ask a store, “Can I give you less for it?” – as it’s an open door to haggling (see haggling on the high street tips and how to haggle with Sky, AA, Virgin etc).

    If you have any other questions on pricing rights post them below, and I’ll answer them in a future blog.

I’ve hired lawyers to investigate judicial reviewing Govt’s retrospective student loan hike

While the Chancellor talked about students in his Autumn Statement a few weeks ago, he chose to hide in the small print – or perhaps wasn’t brave enough to speak about – a hike in the student loan repayments for all who’ve started since 2012. This retrospective change is a disgrace. No commercial company would be allowed to do it – the Government shouldn’t be allowed to either.

Quick Briefing: What the Government has changed…
Before I get into the meat of the blog, a quick explainer of what’s happening.

First time undergraduates in England who started university in Sept 2012 and beyond repay student loans at a rate of 9% of everything earned above £21,000 a year after they leave (full explainer in Student Loans Mythbusting). In 2010 when it launched the new system, the Government promised that from April 2017 this £21,000 threshold would rise annually with average earnings.

It has now reversed that, freezing the threshold until at least 2021. So instead of the threshold going up each year, it’ll be stuck at £21,000. According to the Government’s own figures this will leave more than two million graduates paying £306 more each year by 2020-21 if they earn over £21,000.

So why will it cost more? Let’s take a simple example. If you earn £22,000 and the threshold had increased to £22,000, you’d have repaid nothing. But with it at £21,000 you’d repay £90 a year.

And this doesn’t just hit the amount people pay each month. As many, if not most, students won’t repay in full within the 30 years before the loan wipes, it means they will repay possibly £1,000s more in total before the loan wipes.

Yet that only hits lower and middle earners. Higher earners lose out in the short term too, but for those earning enough to repay within the 30 years, as they clear the debt quicker less interest will accrue, so they’ll repay less in total.

Thus this is a regressive change – in other words it benefits high-earning graduates at the expense of lower or mid-earning ones.

You can also view my YouTube video explanation of the changes.

Since 2012 when the new system came in I’ve explained the practical finances of how student loans work, even heading the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information.

While I had many reservations about the 2012 changes, for me it was more important to ensure prospective students and their parents truly understood how the finances really impact them to make an informed decision.

Tonight at 8pm my ITV ‘The Martin Lewis Money Show’ main subject is student finance – I still aim to explain the system. So far this series has been the biggest consumer show on TV with between 3.7m and 4.2m viewers; it is a truly mainstream audience.

So how can I, to so many people, in good conscience explain student loans if the Government is prepared to change students’ terms after they’ve signed up, in some cases after they’ve graduated. I feel duty bound to put an ‘it can all change’ wobbler in at the end.

And more so, as head of the taskforce, I told people that in 2017 the £21,000 repayment threshold was set to rise. I refuse to be – with hindsight – the Government’s mule for mis-selling student loans. When I first heard mutterings this may happen (see my ‘Help fight the Government’s student loan U-turn that means many will pay more‘ blog) I pledged to do what I can to stop it.

So tonight I’ll also be announcing that in a personal capacity (ie, not MoneySavingExpert.com) I’ve engaged the solicitors Bindmans to investigate if there are grounds to judicial review this decision and to look at other legal grounds to challenge it (it may be people with student loans will need to agree to take cases – I doubt there’ll be a shortage of volunteers). This by necessity is being done at great speed as there is only a short period in which to judicial review.

My view (and it may be nonsense hence why I’m engaging lawyers) is there are many areas of weakness in this announcement – primarily that this is an unfair change in contractual terms for students, one no commercial company would’ve been allowed to do. It could’ve chosen to do this only for new starters, that would’ve been reasonable (I’m not saying I support it, just I wouldn’t have challenged it), but it didn’t.

One of the Government’s attempts to justify these changes is the fact it did a consultation (see my consultation response which formally sets out why this change was a bad idea). Yet 84% of consultation responses were against this change, only 5% were in favour. What’s the point of a consultation if you ignore the answers?

I will of course keep you updated on developments via my weekly email and Twitter and Facebook feeds. Views welcome below.

The secret of how to pick your new energy provider from a list of firms you’ve not heard of

Comparing energy tariffs is easy. Yet as I’ve learnt over the last year, it’s picking your new supplier from a list of unknown names that is putting many off. So I wanted to bash out a quick blog to show you how to navigate through that.

The majority of people in the UK are overspending on energy by 30%, often £300+ a year – simply due to being on the wrong tariff. If you’ve not switched in the last 12 months and are with one of the big six – British Gas, EDF, E.on, Npower, Scottish Power or SSE – almost invariably that means you’re one of those people, as you’ll be on their very expensive standard tariff. If you’re with anyone else, you could still be overpaying too, so the right thing to do is check.

The easy way to check is using a comparison site. That’s necessary as who your cheapest is depends on where you live and how much you use. It’s best if you have your bills to hand to do this, but even if not, most comparison sites will estimate for you and the sin of inaccuracy isn’t as big as the sin of doing nothing. Yet many people find, or at least perceive, switching to be complex.

I’ve always found this difficult to understand, as when even newcomers to my Cheap Energy Club have tried it, the comparison process is completed in an average of around five minutes. And changing itself is no biggie – it’s the same pipes, gas, electricity and safety, and you don’t lose supply. The only difference is price and customer service.

However, when over the last year I’ve observed people switching at my TV roadshows, my eyes have been opened to the real problem. It’s not doing the comparison. It’s picking who to switch to that’s the real problem for many.

Too many small firms you’ve not heard of?

The huge encouragement given for new entrants to the energy market is actually putting many off switching. And to an extent, there’s good reason. The energy market is swamped with new firms, and often at launch they offer super-cheap deals to build a customer base. Yet the customer service feedback on these firms is either limited or worse poor, as they can’t handle the number of customers flooding in.

If you do a comparison right now, almost invariably the first five cheapest providers on the list are those you’ve never heard of – and for many that’s enough to put them off and stop the process.

The simple answer is SCROLL DOWN to a name you know, or one – small or big – which has a good customer service rating.

In fact, with so many new providers, you could scroll down a couple of pages of names and still only find it’s £10/yr or £20/yr more than the very cheapest, still saving you nearly £300/yr on typical usage. To make it easier use this good customer service only comparison energy club link, which automatically selects the service filter.

What if I just want a name I recognise though?

In that case, even though many of the big six have hideous tariffs, they can also offer some good ones too. At the time of writing, the cheapest big six deal for most people on average is a one-year fix with Eon, saving £230/yr compared to the average big six standard variable tariff. Yet always do a comparison, as the cheapest does depend on your situation. Again, to help use this big names only comparison energy club link, which automatically filters out smaller firms.

And remember most cheap tariffs are fixes, meaning you’re guaranteed no price rises for a set time.

What if I just don’t want to switch firm?

Many people ask me questions like: “I’m with Npower – is it cheap?” I can’t answer that, as what you pay depends on which of a firm’s tariffs you are on. Npower, for example, has one of the most expensive standard tariffs – for someone with typical usage it’s £1,161/yr – yet right now it also offers a relatively cheap fix at £969/yr.

In fact, EVERY big six provider has a cheaper deal than its standard tariff. So through gritted teeth, let me say: if you won’t switch as you’re loyal to your existing firm, at least ensure you’re on its cheapest tariff. Call them up and ask them. (Or better, use the what’s my current provider’s cheapest comparison energy club link, which filters out all other firms.  Though if it has tariffs under another name – eg Sainsbury’s Energy is really part of British Gas –  they’re included.)

What if I’m on a prepayment meter?

If you pay by a key or card meter, as many of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable do, then outrageously there’s nowhere near as much competition, and you pay more – though prices have been capped, which has helped a touch. If you do a prepay comparison there are often savings to be made, but often less than £100/yr.

If you can, try and switch to a billed meter. It’s free to do with one of the big six providers, and you’ll usually be credit-scored to check you’re capable of keeping up with payments.

Is comparing safe though? Isn’t it all about energy comparison sites making money?

Comparison sites, including my Cheap Energy Club, do get paid roughly £50 to £60 if they can switch you. Yet the price you pay is the same as if you switched direct with the energy firm. It comes from their marketing budgets, and if not paying a comparison site they tend to be paying advertisers.

In the case of Cheap Energy Club, we roughly split what we get paid with you (our share goes towards the pretty high costs and hopefully makes us a profit too). So on a dual fuel switch, if we can switch you we give you £25 cashback (£12.50 single fuel). That actually results in you getting a better deal than if you went direct to the energy firm (so we have a filter that enables you to factor this into the saving you make).

You have to be careful with some comparison sites as they are now allowed to only show you tariffs that pay them, which means you may not see the whole of the market. For the sake of transparency, Cheap Energy Club always defaults to the whole of the market – obviously if you click a link with a filter on as explained, then that cuts some providers, but not based on whether they pay or not.

British Gas customers – there’s a hidden way to cut £130+ off your bill…

British (and Scottish) Gas is the UK’s biggest energy supplier, serving over 10m homes. And no surprise for a provider still benefitting from its past monopoly advantage, it ain’t cheap!

After all, why should it be – many of its customers stick with it, price hike after price hike, bill after bill.

Currently though, there is a way to stay with BG and hugely slash your cost, but you can’t just call it and ask. Any of its customers in the UK (not Northern Ireland) can do this, providing you…

  • Already do or are willing to pay by monthly (variable) direct debit
  • Use it for dual fuel (so electricity and gas)
  • Are willing to be billed online

What is this magical British Gas money-saving potion?

Quite simply it will sell you the same gas, same electricity, same safety etc as you get right now, but charge less for it and it’ll guarantee it won’t hike the rate for over a year.  Yet you can’t just call British Gas and ask for it.

It’s a new tariff called British Gas All Online January 2019 and it’s only available via comparison sites (we’ve no indication of how long it’ll last, so it could be pulled at any time). So to make it easy, just quickly plug details from your bill – guesstimate if you don’t have it to hand – into our special Cheap Energy Club ‘My Current Supplier’ comparison.

This filters out all but British Gas’s tariffs. Then you can see your exact saving (it depends on where you live and how much you use) and then click the button to turn that tariff on, and pay less.

PS: While this should save you decent money, you can save far more if you’re willing to switch provider. So when you’re looking at the results page of your British Gas comparison, why not play with the filters on the side, to see how much you can save elsewhere too?

The new tariff is a fix, which means you’re guaranteed no price hikes until January 2019 (unlike the normal British Gas tariff, which can be increased any time), though of course if you use more, you’ll pay more. If – as is unlikely if you’re doing this – you want to leave British Gas before then, you’ll pay a £40 early exit fee.

Those who don’t already have a British Gas smart meter will need to book installation for one by 31 July 2018. These automatically send meter readings to your supplier, so you get exact bills and pay only for what you use (for more on that, see our Smart Meters guide). And you’ll need to join the free British Gas Rewards loyalty scheme, but that just earns you things such as free movies from the Sky Store.

PS: If you’re wondering why it’s only available via comparison sites, it has likely done this so it can target switchers from elsewhere, but thankfully it has allowed existing customers to get it too.

How much cheaper is it likely to be?

Someone with typical usage (defined by regulator Ofgem) currently on a British Gas standard tariff (as most with it are) currently pays £1,100/year.

On the same usage, the new tariff will cost you on average (it depends where you live) £995/year. Plus, switch via our Cheap Energy Club and you get £25 cashback, making the saving a typical £130.

Though obviously if you’ve higher bills you’ll likely save more than that, lower bills less than that (yet the cashback is always £25 regardless).

It is worth noting on the same usage the very cheapest deals from elsewhere would save you about £300 (hence the big bold writing in the box above).

Why is there a Sainsbury’s Energy deal in my ‘British Gas only’ results?

Sainsbury’s Energy is just British Gas in disguise – it’s the same company, just selling its wares under a different name. And there’s a new Sainsbury’s deal out at the same time which for some will top the new British Gas deal – it depends on where you live and how much you use.


It’s called Sainsbury’s Price Freeze November 2018, and as the name suggests it’s also a fixed tariff, though the price guarantee is shorter than British Gas’s. If this is cheaper for you, you may decide to plump for it instead. Frankly, it’s a very similar deal, though doesn’t require you to have a smart meter.

How come MSE pays cashback on this?

Like all energy comparison sites, if you can switch through us, we get paid. Though unlike some we still include all tariffs, whether they pay us or not (unless you choose to filter them out).

Yet we aim to give you about half of what we’re paid in cashback. Just to be clear, you get exactly the same deal as you would if you went to the firm (but in this case you can’t do that) plus the cashback on top that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

The rest helps cover our costs and hopefully makes us some profit. We’ve had to drop the cashback from £30 to £25 recently as suppliers can give us less – for more see MSE Jason’s blog.