Don't get burnt by energy bills

Published:
22 September 2010
Topic:
News,Gas & Electricity

Winter is fast approaching and millions of us will turn the heating on over the next few weeks. But if you want to avoid paying more than you need to for your gas and electricity, you should act now and switch.

We all use far more energy during the winter months, as we heat our homes, turn the lights on earlier and spend more time indoors, using energy-hungry gadgets like TVs and laptops.

So it makes real sense to switch to a cheaper bill now - the difference between the average cost of the most expensive standard tariff and the cheapest overall is currently a whopping £580 and many households could easily save themselves a few hundred pounds.

But you need to take action now. It can take six weeks to switch, meaning that there's a very small window left if you want to enjoy cheaper bills for the whole winter season. Watch our video 'Switch your energy provider for cheaper winter bills' for some switching tips.

Take a look at this table to see the difference in potential savings if you switch now compared to in November. As it shows, you only really have until October 19th to make savings in time for December, so time is of the essence.

 Switch date

Est. completion date 

Winter* benefit 

Saving potential** 

 21 Sep

 02 Nov

 100%

 £580

 05 Oct

 16 Nov

 100%

 £580

 19 Oct

 30 Nov

 100%

 £580

 02 Nov

 14 Dec

 84.4%

 £490

 16 Nov

 28 Dec

 68.9%

 £337

 30 Nov

 11 Jan

 53.3%

 £180

 14 Dec

 25 Jan

 37.8%

 £68

 28 Dec

 08 Feb

 22.2%

 £15

* Winter = Dec - Feb
** Most expensive 'Standard' tariff Vs cheapest on the market

Finding the cheapest energy deal for you

There is no point paying more for gas and electricity than you need to, so you should regularly check you are on the best deal. The cheapest gas and electricity provider overall right now is npower with its Sign Online 19 tariff, with an average bill of £889.73.

But bear in mind that the best energy deal for you is affected by where you are in the country and whether you're a light, medium or heavy energy user.

Use our energy price comparison tool to see just how much you could save.

Fix against price rises

With lots of speculation that energy prices are going to rise soon, many households are choosing to fix their energy bills, to shield themselves from price hikes.

If rising bills are a worry, then fixing is definitely worth considering. You'll pay slightly more than you would for the cheapest deals (although almost certainly less than you're paying on a standard tariff) but you won't be hit by hikes for a set period.

There's a Scottish Power fixed rate tariff that guarantees your bills remain the same until January 2014, which we've reviewed. However, most fixes are for 12 months only.

Here's a table showing the savings people on standard tariffs could make if they'd switch to the cheapest overall deal, or even fix their rates.

 Provider

Average standard tariff 

Average online/best tariff 

Average fixed tariff 

 British Gas

 £1,157.27

 £979.05
WebSaver 9

 N/A

 EDF Energy

 £1,167.22

 £967.29
Online Saver V7

 £1,098.96
Annual Fix v3

 E.ON

 £1,151.63

 £894.43
SaveOnline v3

 N/A

 npower

 £1,196.33

 £889.73
Sign Online 19

 N/A

 Scottish Power

 £1,289.54

 £962.08
Online Energy Saver 11

 £1,226.75
Platinum Fixed Energy

 Scottish & Southern

 £1,158.76

 £981.83
Go Direct 5

 £1,132.55
Price Fix 5

 First Utility

 £1,074.37

 £954.14
iSave V4

 N/A

 OVO Energy

 N/A

 £943.58
New Energy Fixed

 £943.58
New Energy Fixed

Sourced by www.moneysupermarket.com 15.09.2010
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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