If you could write one letter a year and save yourself thousands of pounds, do you think you'd find the time to do it?

Surely that's a no-brainer - but many retailers miss the opportunity by not renegotiating their gas and electricity supply every year. Sending written notice to your supplier that you do not wish to continue your contract beyond its termination date will not only enable you to look for a new, better deal, it will also prevent your current provider tying you in to a more expensive contract.

Convenience Store's Fight The Power campaign aims to encourage every independent retailer to write that termination letter and, by ensuring that every store is on the most appropriate tariff, to put millions of pounds back into our readers'

pockets. We've set ourselves a target of getting this message out to every store so that by May 1 - Cancellation Day - all our readers will have taken advantage of this simple cost-saver.

If every C-Store reader saves even £500 a year, that's more than £21m saved by the sector. And who knows, with some 42,000 small businesses looking for a new supplier over the next 12 months, we may introduce much-needed competition into the market.

Here's what you do: dig out your contract and check your obligations with your current supplier; make sure you are entitled to change supplier without penalty (like a termination fee) and that responsibility for changing supply is yours, rather than a landlord's. Find out when the contract ends and, using the table on this page, check the notice period required by your supplier; then get that official notice of termination in the post. Once you've done that - and this is really important - don't forget you've got to set up a new contract, or you'll find yourself paying a punitive 'out of contract' rate to your old supplier.

We'll help you find the best deal. In future issues we'll introduce you to the energy brokers who say they will save you 50% on your bills, and challenge each of the energy suppliers to come up with a market-beating deal for C-Store readers.
Don't estimate
When did you last check your meter reading? If you've been taking your supplier's estimated reading as gospel, chances are you've been paying far too much for months. Utility suppliers are legally obliged to take a definitive reading only once every two years and tend to overestimate the amount of gas and electricity you're using. How many other suppliers would you pay in advance like this?

So give yourself a nice little present this spring. Before your next bill arrives, send in your own reading, or arrange for your supplier to take a reading. It could make a huge difference to your cash flow.

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