What types of electricity tariff are there?
What types of electricity tariff are there?
There are so many suppliers, tariffs and prices on the market at the moment, the choice can feel bewildering. It’s simpler than you might expect, however: there are six main types of electricity tariff available. You can pick from the following:
A fixed-price electricity tariff has a set price for each unit of electricity you consume, so your bill only changes as your consumption does. You’ll need to sign a contract to access this tariff.
Fixed tariffs protect you from price hikes, but you’re locked in if prices fall – and there are often exit fees if you want to leave early.
Sometimes known as a standard variable tariff, this is the most popular type of electricity tariff. The cost of each unit changes with the electricity market, but there’s no contract and no exit fees.
If you’re on another tariff, most suppliers will automatically switch you over to a standard tariff when your existing contract runs out.
A dual fuel tariff means you get both your electricity and gas from a single supplier. This can be convenient, as there is only one point of contact to manage all your energy.
Dual fuel tariffs can be either fixed or variable, and suppliers may offer discounts if you choose to buy both electricity and gas from them.
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How to reduce your electricity bill
How to reduce your
Switching is the easiest way to cut your electricity bill, but there are plenty of changes you can make around the home to improve efficiency and cut costs.
Turn appliances on standby off
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that turning appliances off at the plug will save the average household up to £80 a year. You can use cheap timer plugs to schedule when your appliances go off.
Buy efficient appliances
Throwing out a perfectly good appliance won’t save you money, but when it is time to swap, go for one with a high energy-efficiency rating. An A+++ fridge freezer will save around £320 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model.
Wash clothes at a lower temperature
Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees can help reduce your energy usage, and if you can cut out one wash cycle per week you’ll clip £5 off your annual energy bill.
Monitor your usage
Keeping a watchful eye on your consumption levels can help you decide if and when you have to change the way you use energy. A smart meter will track your consumption with accurate information.
What’s the difference between the Big Six and other suppliers?
Most of the country’s energy comes from the Big Six, the six biggest energy suppliers in the UK – these are:
- British Gas
- EDF Energy
- Scottish Power
However there are an increasing number of smaller providers, such as First Utility, Octopus Energy, OVO and Ecotricity. They may not be as well-known as the ‘Big Six’ companies, but they do offer certain advantages:
- Some smaller suppliers specialise in green energy
- Many also come out on top for customer service, compared to the Big Six
- You may be able to find a cheaper deal when you switch over
Are there any schemes that can help with my electricity costs?
There is a government scheme called the Warm Home Discount, which can get you a £140 discount on your electricity bill. This is a one-off payment that is taken straight off your bill between September and March – rather than being paid into your account.
Read more about the Warm Home Discount with our guide.
How do I compare business electricity quotes?
Finding an energy tariff for your business is slightly different to domestic energy. You can request a call back from our energy experts, or call them yourself on 0800 088 6986, and discuss your requirements so you can find the right business energy deal for you.
Do I need my own electricity tariff if I’m a tenant?
If your bills are included in your rent, or if your landlord rebills you for electricity costs, then it’ll be up to them to arrange your electricity supply. You can always ask them to switch if you have a preference, or you could ask to arrange it yourself.
How do I get a smart meter?
Whether you’ll be able to get a smart meter will depend on your provider and when they plan to roll them out in your area – they may be available already. It’s best to contact them directly to make an enquiry.
Learn more about smart meters and how they work with our guide.
How do I switch electricity suppliers?
Switching energy suppliers is quick and easy thanks to the energy switch guarantee. The whole process is taken care of by your new provider, and you won’t be without energy at any point. If there are any issues, your provider will try to resolve them as soon as possible, and you should be fully switched over in twenty-one days.
Comparing energy tariffs with MoneySuperMarket is the easiest way to switch suppliers and find a better deal. All you need to do is tell us a little about yourself, your home, and your approximate energy usage – the more accurate you can be, the more accurate your bills will be.
We’ll show you a list of quotes from the ‘Big Six’ providers as well as smaller providers, and once you find the deal you want just click through to the provider to finalise your switch.
Can I switch if I’m on a prepayment meter?
You’ll be able to switch from a prepayment meter to a credit meter if you aren’t in debt to your current provider – but you might need to undergo a credit check. Some suppliers might charge a fee to change your meter, but not all will – shopping around and comparing deals is the best way to find a better deal.
What is the energy price cap?
The energy price cap is calculated and set by Ofgem, and they’re reviewed every six months. In October 2019 the price cap was set at £1,179 for standard variable tariffs (SVT) and £1,217 for prepayment meter tariffs – but the new price cap set in February 2020 changed it to £1,162 for SVTs and £1,200 for prepayment tariffs.
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Why use MoneySuperMarket to switch your energy?
You could save hundreds of pounds by switching your gas and electricity to a cheaper tariff through MoneySuperMarket.
We help you compare prices from all the energy suppliers in the UK, so you can find the cheapest deals in the market.
It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper energy deal. All you have to do is answer some simple questions, and we'll show you tariffs and offers from all the energy companies. We’ll also show you how much you could save by switching to each tariff, to help you choose the best one for you.
We can help you switch to tariffs from most companies directly through MoneySuperMarket. Just click the green button, answer a few more questions, and you’re done.
If you’d prefer to talk to someone, you can call us on 0800 177 7087. We can answer any questions you might have, and even switch you to a new deal over the phone.
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So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.
But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?
We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.