Find the best energy deal before putting the heating back on

It’s almost the time of year when it’s time to start gearing up for the colder weather.

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It won’t be long before many of us put the heating on, so there’s no better time to make sure you’re getting the cheapest deal on your energy bills.

Prices are going up

It’s not uncommon for energy prices to go up in time for the most expensive time of the year, and the UK’s biggest energy company, British Gas, recently did just that. They’ve announced that electricity prices will be going up by 12.5% from September 15, in a move that will affect more than three million customers on standard variable tariffs.

This means that the average price for a combined gas and electricity bill is set to jump by £76 to £1,120 a year. The energy giant is the last of the Big Six suppliers to increase prices this year.

Get ready to switch

If you’re a British Gas customer, now is the best time to shop around for a cheaper deal with a new supplier, before prices go up in September. But even if you’re not with British Gas, switching could still be a wise move. Over half of UK households are on a standard variable rate (SVR), and are likely to be paying over the odds for their energy.

The average SVR is around £1,100 a year, whereas as some of the cheapest fixed deals come in at less than £900, so there are hundreds of pounds to be saved by switching to a cheaper tariff.

This is a great time to switch, because if you get a cheaper deal now, before winter sets in, you’ll see savings when you turn on the heating.

Comparing energy deals is easy

It’s quick and easy to compare energy deals with MoneySuperMarket. All you have to do is tell us your postcode and ideally the details of your current supplier, tariff and energy consumption.

All this information will be your latest bill, but it’s ok if you can’t find it. We can estimate your energy usage based on your house type, the number of rooms and the size of your family.

Within seconds, you’ll see a list of tariffs, with the cheapest one first. You can click to see full details of any tariff, so you can make sure you’re choosing the best one for you.

Tips to get the cheapest deal

There are some simple tricks you can do to help ensure you get the best deal you can. You’ll typically get a cheaper deal if you choose to manage your account online and pay by monthly direct debit, and fixed-rate tariffs tend to offer the best value, compared to variable deals. You can also usually get a better deal by getting both gas and electricity from the same supplier. Remember to get quotes for single tariffs as well, though, as this is sometimes the cheapest way of doing it.

If you’re currently on a fixed tariff, you can expect to pay exit fees of up to £30 per fuel if you switch before the fixed period ends.

But, your suppliers will tell you your fixed deal is coming to an end between 42 and 49 days before the contract expires, leaving you free to then switch within this notice period without having to pay any exit fees.

When you’ve chosen a great new tariff, all that’s left to do is fill in a few more details, and the new supplier will confirm your new deal. The switch will be sorted within 21 days. You can change your mind if you like, as you’ll have a 14-day cooling-off period.  

Don’t expect your energy supply to be interrupted during the switch - there won’t be any work inside or outside your property, and the new supplier will sort things out with your old one, so you can sit back and relax.

The new supplier will also let you know the transfer date, and will ask for meter readings. Accurate readings will allow the old supplier to calculate your final bill, and help the new supplier to work out your first bill. This makes sure you only pay once for the energy you use.  

You can expect to receive a final bill from your old supplier within six weeks of the switch and, if they owe you money, you should get a refund within 14 days of the date of the final bill.

Switching with a prepayment meter

It’s still easy to switch if you have a prepayment meter. You can choose whether to switch to another prepayment deal, or consider changing to a credit meter (as long as you pass the credit check). You’d need to have a new meter installed, and you could be charged for this.

The sooner you switch to a cheaper energy tariff, the sooner you’ll start saving money. You can then kick back and enjoy the crisper weather, safe in the knowledge you’re getting a great deal. Run a quote and see how much you can save.

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