nPower is the latest supplier to cut its standard gas prices. Prices will fall by 5.1% from February 16, saving affected customers around £35 a year as annual bills for monthly direct debit-paying customers fall to £1,169.
Scottish Power has also announced price cuts. It will reduce its standard domestic gas prices by 4.8% as of February 20. It'll save the average standard gas tariff customer £33 a year.
British Gas will cut its gas prices by 5% one week later (February 27th). This will trim average annual 'dual fuel' (combined gas and electricity) bills by £37, from £1192.96 to £1155.96, for those paying monthly by direct debit.
Last week E.On, another ‘Big Six’ supplier, cut the cost of its standard variable price gas tariff by 3.5%, reducing annual bills for its dual fuel customers by 2.1% – that’s around £24, bringing the cost down to £1,145 a year on average for monthly direct debit customers.
We expect the other Big Six firms – EDF and SSE – to follow suit with price cuts of their own in the coming days and weeks.
Plummeting fixed rates
But it’s in the fixed tariff market that we’re seeing the most eye-catching price moves.
For example, on the day it trimmed its gas tariff price last week, E.ON launched a new 1-year fixed tariff which was briefly the cheapest on the market at £932.99 a year for average consumers.
Almost immediately, firms outside the Big Six – namely First Utility, Extra and OVO Energy – started to jockey for position at the top of the best-buy tables with new fixed tariffs of their own.
This means the lowest annual price for average usage is now under £920 – that £40 less than just a few weeks ago.
And THAT means fixed tariffs are currently much better value than standard variable deals, which can be £200 a year more expensive.
So here’s what’s happening…
The latest price moves
Extra Energy is at the top of the 1-year fix table with its Fresh Fixed Price Jan 2016 v8, at an average annual cost of £914.22 - and its Clear Fixed Price March 2016 v3 deal is second at £918.72 for typical consumption.
Extra also takes the number three slot, thanks to the £919.41 average annual bill of its Bright Fixed Price Jan 2016 v8 tariff.
Extra's aggressive pricing bumps First Utility and its iSave Fixed v44 March 2016 (average annual bill of £919.49) into fourth place.
Here's how the rest of the table sits...
Energy Best buy table
Top 10 Energy Deals - based on a medium consumption of 13,500 kWh Gas, 3,200 kWh Electricity
| Supplier || Tariff || Payment || Type || Average annual bill|
| || Fresh Fixed Price Jan 2016 v8 || || || £914.22|
| || Clear Fixed Price March 2016 v4 || || || £918.72|
| || Bright Fixed Price Jan 2016 v8 || || || £919.41|
| || iSave Fixed v44 March 2016 || || || £919.49|
| || Better Energy Fixed (Online) (NOTE - Not Scottish Hydro) || || || £920.11|
| || Online Fixed Price February 2016 || || || £930.03|
| || Rate Saver 12 Months Fixed version 1501 Paperless || || || £931.60|
| || Fixed 1 year v14 || || || £932.99|
| || Fair and Square March 2016 v2 || || || £944.00|
|Npower || Fixed Energy Online April 2016 || || || £962.66|
Sourced by MoneySuperMarket 23.01.2015
Prices quoted are for tariffs with bills sent by post. ‘Paperless’ versions of tariffs, where available, may be cheaper
Fixed deals – what to watch out for
When checking out fixed rate tariffs – which lock in the price you pay per unit of fuel you use for a specified period – look out for exit fees.
These are levied if you leave before the end of the term.
Neither nPower nor Scottish Power charge exit fees, although their fixed tariffs are relatively expensive at an average of £963 and £970 respectively.
E.On’s new tariff has the lowest exit fees of the leading bunch, at just £5 per fuel. This means that if you fix your prices with the supplier and a better deal comes along within 12 months, leaving the fix will cost you no more than £10.
By comparison, the OVO and First Utility deals both cost £30 per fuel if you want to leave. This means that you’d need to make a saving more than £60 (assuming you have both gas and electricity with the supplier) to justify switching to another tariff, if a cheaper deal came along.
Switch, fix & save
To find out how much you can save on your energy costs, run a quote on our energy channel – have a copy of a recent bill to hand as it carries all the information you’ll need.
You should have a list of competitive tariffs within 5 minutes, and you can click through to start the switching process.
Switching itself is a hassle-free process that should be completed within 17 days, meaning you can start paying less for your energy while we’re still in the depths of winter.
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.