Gas and electricity bills can quickly eat into your household budget, but checking you’re on the cheapest energy tariff is an easy way to keep a lid on your costs.
When was the last time you switched?
Millions of British households are on a standard variable rate tariff, and many of them have been with their supplier for years.
The problem with this is that standard variable tariffs are a long way from being the cheapest deals on the market.
Ofgem introduced a price cap for these tariffs in 2019, and in July 2020 the cap was set at £1,042 – meaning prices have falled by £84 (7%) for customers paying by direct debit since the last update in April 2020. The caps are reviewed every six months and will next be updated in February 2021.
But despite this, you could still save more on your energy bills by switching to a cheaper tariff. When you compare tariffs with MoneySuperMarket the lowest tariff you can find is £254 cheaper than the level set by the price cap – showing there are still savings to be had for people who switch.
In fact the best way to save is by switching to a cheaper tariff as soon as possible – by switching through MoneySuperMarket you could save at least £286* on your energy bills.
So if you haven’t switched for several years, or if you’ve never switched, it’s well worth running an energy quote to see if there’s a cheaper deal available.
What’s more, if you sign up to the MoneySuperMarket app, you’ll receive alerts when you’re able to switch and save at least £50 on your bill.
Think about a fixed rate tariff
With a fixed rate tariff, the amount you pay for each unit of energy you use is locked in for 12, 18, 24 or 36 months - you choose the duration of the fix.
This means you’re protected from price hikes for that period - although you wouldn’t benefit from any price falls.
But given that the leading fixed rate tariffs cost well below most SVTs, and given also that the wholesale price of energy is increasing at the moment, fixed rates look the better option.
Switching is a breeze
Worried about switching? Here’s the good news…
- You won’t need new pipes/wires
When you switch energy, there’s no need for any work to be done, inside or outside your property. No-one will even need to visit your home.
You’ll use the same pipes and wires and energy meters. All the work is done behind the scenes by your new energy provider.
The only thing you’ll need to do is provide meter readings so you can settle up with your old provider and start paying your new one.
- There won’t be any interruption to supply
You won’t have your power turned off when the switch takes place, even for a second.
Your present supplier will provide you with power until the day of the switch, when your new provider will take over. It’s a seamless operation, and you won’t even notice it’s happened.
- It won’t takes ages to do it
You can run a quote on our site in minutes, and sign up for a new deal in a few minutes more.
Your new provider will then contact you to confirm the switch is going ahead. At this point, you start a 14-day cooling-off period during which you are free to cancel the switch at no cost.
Once the cooling-off period ends, the switch itself should be completed within a week, so the whole process will take around 21 days.
How to switch
You can find all information you need to run a quote on your latest energy bill or annual statement.
But if you don’t have a bill to hand, don’t worry. We can provide you with a realistic estimate just using basic information such as your postcode, type of property, how many people live there, and when the house is usually occupied.
Before switching, find out if you owe your existing provider any money. If you do, you’ll usually have to pay this off before you can switch to a new supplier.
You should also check whether there are any early exit fees to pay when you leave your current deal - fixed rate tariffs sometimes have them.
If there are, you can either wait until around six weeks before your tariff is due to end, when they can no longer be levied, or you can decide to pay them knowing you’re going to save a larger amount on your new deal.
As we’ve noted, fixed rate tariffs tend to be the cheapest on the market.
These will often be ‘dual fuel’ deals, where you get both your gas and electricity from the same supplier. But it’s worth checking single, separate tariffs for gas and electricity as the combined price might be less than a dual fuel offer.
There’s usually a discount if you sign up to pay your bills by direct debit rather than cheque, and if you manage your account online, with no paper communications.
If you’re renting
If you pay your energy bills, rather than your landlord, and your name is on the bill then you are free to move suppliers, but it’s usually a good idea to let your landlord know that you plan to do this.
*51% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £286.50, June 2020.