British households could save a staggering £3.2 billion on their energy bills just by switching to the cheapest available plans, according to new research from moneysupermarket.com.
In many cases, making the move could slash their energy costs by nearly a quarter, or 23%.
To illustrate just how much difference this could make, take the example of a bill payer, living in the East of England, who has never switched from the traditional energy provider for their region, otherwise known as the 'incumbent' provider.
He or she would currently pay around
£1,151 a year on a standard tariff paying quarterly by cash or cheque.
However, switching to the
British Gas Websaver 11 tariff - currently the best value tariff in 13 of the 14 regions making up the UK - would cut their bills to just £859 a year.
That's a saving of
£291, or 25% a year. Save wherever you are
Those living in the East of England are not the only ones who could make big savings by switching suppliers.
Across Britain, households who have never switched provider could save an impressive £265 a year on average if they moved from the incumbent provider's standard tariff and opted for the best value deal instead.
Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com, said: "In the days before the energy market opened up to competition,
British Gas provided gas to all energy regions while electricity was provided by one regional supplier, for example London Energy in London which now falls under EDF Energy.
"Despite the greater choice available to consumers for both gas and electricity, the majority of UK households remain with the providers who traditionally provide their gas and electricity.
"Anyone still loyal to their incumbent supplier is therefore over paying for their gas and electricity, probably by around £265 a year."
Where can I find the best deals?
As mentioned above, the best value tariff for the huge majority of UK households at the moment is the
British Gas Websaver 11.
However, consumers are being urged to take advantage of this offer from British Gas now as a number of other providers have withdrawn some of their lowest cost products, forcing up the average price of the cheapest deals.
British Gas is therefore likely to take this great deal off the market within the near future too.
Byrom added: "At a time when all UK households are feeling the pinch from the rising cost of living, people are still burning money by not shopping around, using comparison sites and switching to a much cheaper deal.
"That's why you should act now to avoid missing out on the Websaver 11 tariff."
And even if that deal does not appeal for some reason, or you happen to live in the one region where it does not offer the best value for money, there are still lots of other tariffs available that are likely to offer you big savings.
The cheapest deals are likely to be those that are managed online, mainly because these are the cheapest plans for the energy companies to run.
And the low prices available with tariffs of this kind are not the only advantage.
"Online tariffs enable consumers to pay monthly instalments, record actual meter readings with an online account and cut out the need for estimated billing," Byrom said.
"Paying by monthly direct debit also allows consumers to spread the cost of their energy evenly throughout the year and avoid the 'bill shocks' that come after the costly winter months when energy usage is at a peak.
"So if households aren't on this kind of deal they really need to act now. Times are still tough and even though the warmer months are on the way, there is never a bad time to start saving money on your energy bills."
The quickest and easiest way to find the best energy deal for you is to compare tariffs using the moneysupermarket.com
energy channel. How else can I save money on my energy bills?
The average British household could knock a further £200 off the annual amount they spend on energy simply by taking a few energy saving measures around the home, research shows.
So why not start improving the energy efficiency of your house or flat today?
That way, by the time next winter comes around, you should be in a position to cut your gas and electricity usage considerably, which is good for the environment - as well as your wallet.
The Energy Saving Trust offers lots of useful tips that you can put into practice straightaway, including turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree centigrade - and saving yourself up to £50 a year - and always turning electrical appliances such as televisions off rather than leaving them on standby.
Other energy saving measures that will take a bit more time, but offer even greater rewards include insulating your loft, which could save you a massive £145 a year, and installing a new, more efficient boiler to cut your annual bills by up to £225.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing
Rate This Article
Click on a star to rate this article.