Christmas comes early for energy switchers

There’s never been a better time to fix your energy bills, with the top 10 cheapest deals now costing less than £1,000 a year.

This is the first time EVER that the 10 cheapest energy deals costing below £1,000 a year are all fixed rate offers.

Having a fixed rate means the price you pay for each unit of energy you use will remain the same for the stated period.

And remember – the prices quoted are for households with AVERAGE consumption. The amount you pay could be more or less depending on your usage.

Best time to switch

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “There really has never been a better time to switch. This is the first time we’ve ever seen prices like these in the top 10 for fixed tariffs and consumers should grab the opportunity with both hands for an early Christmas present.”

Traditionally, the cheapest energy tariffs have been online-only and variable, which means prices can go up or down during the term of the deal.

Fixed tariffs give you peace of mind that your unit price won’t change, even if energy costs rise.

That means they’re a great option if you’re on a tight budget and worry about bills suddenly shooting up.

Here’s our round up of the best fixed tariffs - and why you’d be crazy to miss them.

Top tariffs

Top of the table when it comes to cheap fixed tariffs is Extra Energy’s new Merry Christmas Fixed Price Jan 2016 tariff.

The average annual energy bill on this deal costs just £950.55 and, as prices are fixed until January 2016, you don’t have to worry about any increase in costs until the year after next.

Hot on the heels of this deal is Extra’s Fresh Fixed Price March 2016 tariff.

This deal costs a fraction more at £951.04, but gives a price guarantee until March 2016, so two months longer than the firm’s Christmas tariff.

Third place goes to First Utility’s iSave Fixed v41 March 2016 deal, with average annual bills costing £951.49. Again, this deal finishes at the end of March 2016.

If you want to nail your unit cost for as long as possible, the longest fixed deal in the cheapest top 10 is Npower’s Fixed Energy Online April 2016, with average annual bills of £962.66.

Even longer is EDF’s Blue+ Price Promise May 2016 deal, which launched today (Dec 18), but it’s been squeezed out of the table by competing cheaper tariffs.

Annual bills for the EDF tariff cost £999 on average and the deal ends on April 30, 2016.

Why you should switch NOW

Despite the fact fixed energy tariffs have never been more competitive, a shocking 60% of people have NEVER switched suppliers.

If you’ve stuck with the same provider year after year, the chances are you’ll be on their expensive standard tariff.

Although wholesale energy prices have been falling over the past year, suppliers have failed to pass on the fall in costs to standard customers

Instead, their focus has been on cutting prices on market-leading tariffs.

If you are on a standard deal and waiting for prices to fall, you would need to see a whopping 20% reduction in bills to be better off compared to the current best fixed deals today.

Stephen added: “Those who are languishing on their providers’ standard tariffs would need to see a reduction of nearly £200 in their bills to compete with the top fixed rate deals. That’s a huge amount to families’ budgets, and a big reason to switch.”

“Switching energy suppliers doesn’t involve any new pipes and meters, and there’ll be no work inside or outside your home”

Switching is simple

Switching energy suppliers doesn’t involve any new pipes and meters, and there’ll be no work inside or outside your home, so all you need to do is compare the various tariffs on offer and pick the best deal to suit your needs.

The only information you’ll need is how much you pay for your existing tariff, and how much energy you currently use, which you can find on your latest energy bill.

Faster switching

It used to take five weeks or more to switch providers, but energy suppliers have committed to halving the length of time it takes to switch to them by the end of this year.

Most have already introduced faster switching ahead of the December 31 deadline, so it now only takes 17 days in total – three days to switch, plus a fourteen-day cooling-off period.

Switching will get even speedier in years to come. By 2018, Ofgem, the energy market regulator, wants all switches to take just a day, with the cooling off period happening after the switch.

A word of warning…

Be careful if you are switching from a fixed energy tariff.

There might be a penalty charge to pay if you want to get out of your deal before the fixed term finishes, so check your contract before moving. This charge isn’t levied within 45 days of the tariff coming to an end.

Be sure to switch again just before your fixed tariff ends or you’ll slip onto the provider’s standard tariff, which will be more expensive.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

* 51% could save at least £199, MoneySuperMarket Data, September 2014

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