Switch now for cheaper winter bills

There are just a few short weeks to switch energy providers if you want cheaper bills for the whole of the winter. But how easy is it to switch and should you fix? Felicity King-Evans explores…

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We all use far more energy during the winter months, from cranking up the heating and putting the lights on earlier, to spending more time indoors and using electronic entertainment like computers and TVs.

And that’s why now’s the time to switch energy providers. If you’re one of the millions of people on your provider’s standard tariff then you are likely to be paying hundreds of pounds a year more than you need to.

It can take six weeks for a switch to go through and that means that, if you want cheaper bills for your entire winter usage, you need to get going now.

Make the switch

For many of us, switching will be easier than ever this year because we’ve received our annual energy statements, showing clearly just how much gas and electricity we’ve consumed over the last 12 months.

You can use this to run a search on the moneysupermarket.com energy price comparison site.

Simply enter your postcode and then how much your gas and electricity has cost you over the last year.

The search will show you just how much you could save by moving to a cheaper supplier.

Remember, the best deals are mainly available to people who agree to manage their tariff online and pay by direct debit, so make sure you qualify for these cheapest deals.

Find the right tariff

Some people will just want to move to the cheapest tariff and save as much money as they can right now – and it’s easy to find the cheapest gas and electricity deal through our comparison tool.

But some people will be worried about whether their energy bills will still be affordable in the months and years to come – and they may want to consider a fixed tariff.

A fixed energy deal means that you will pay the same amount for the gas and electricity you use for a set period. They often run for just 12 months, but some let you fix for longer. For example, the Scottish Power Platinum Fixed Energy tariff means you’ll be shielded from price hikes until January 2014.

You’ll usually pay a little bit more for a fixed tariff, but if you’re on a standard tariff then it will still be cheaper – plus, you’ll have peace of mind if prices start to climb

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