Who should switch to save on energy bills?

The Big Six energy suppliers may have all finally bowed to pressure to cut their prices, but millions of householders could still benefit by switching to a better deal. 

Scottish Power was the most recent of the Big Six to cave in on cost, cutting its gas prices by 5% for 1.4 million of its customers from February 27.

The dominoes began falling when EDF dropped its standard gas prices by 5%. It was followed by British Gas that announced a 5% cut to single rate electricity bills. Next was SSE, which pledged to cut household gas prices by 4.5% from March 26.

npower and E.ON were the fourth and fifth big providers to move, cutting their prices by 5% and 6% respectively.

The benefits of switching

But even post the price cuts there are still several types of customers who could benefit from changing the deal they are on.

Recent research from MoneySupermarket found that consumers could still reduce their annual energy bill by 22% if they switched from their traditional energy supplier to the best deal. That’s £282 per household and a staggering £3.5 billion worth of savings nationally.

However, gas and electricity market regulator, Ofgem says the majority of gas and electricity customers have never switched their providers. And this isn’t surprising given how confusing it can be to determine whether you’d be better off by switching.

To help you decide, we take a look at just who could save money by switching their energy providers or tariffs.


If you have inherited you provider and pay the standard price

If you simply stuck with the provider you ‘inherited’ from the previous owners or tenants when you moved into your current home, you could save by switching.

You may already get a dual fuel discount if the previous occupants switched to one provider for both gas and electricity, but you could still be able to save even more money by switching to a more competitive provider or tariff.

If you moved supplier after privatisation and pay the standard price

Many householders moved either their gas or electricity when the energy industry was privatised, so that they had a single provider for both utilities.

If you are among them, you will already benefit from a dual fuel discount, but will likely still be paying standard prices. Switching to a more competitive tariff and paying by direct debit could save you money.

Other available discounts

If you pay by direct debit on a monthly, rather than quarterly, basis you will qualify for a discount, while managing your account on the internet with an online tariff will also reduce your bills.

How to get the cheapest overall energy

Remember that the Big Six suppliers all put their prices up last summer, so the latest wave of price cuts don’t actually negate the price hikes of 2011. If you went for a fixed-rate deal before the price hikes, then it won’t be beneficial for you to switch at the moment.

If you’re considering fixing your deal at the current prices because they have fallen, it might be better to wait because it is possible (though unlikely) that prices could drop further.

In summary, you can make sure you get the cheapest energy possible by managing your account online, paying by direct debit on a non-standard fixed tariff – and by switching to the most competitive provider or tariff on the market.

However, if you’re still unsure about whether or not you can save money on your energy by switching, try our free gas and electricity comparison (http://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/) service. It only takes a few minutes and you could find yourself £282 year better off.

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

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