How to save on your energy bill How to switch energy supplier
Switching energy supplier could save you hundreds of pounds on your gas and electricity bill.
Make sure you're not paying more than you should for gas and electricity. Use our expert advice to find out what you need to switch, and how to get the best deal for you.
What you'll need to switch
The more information you can provide to an energy comparison website, the more accurate your quote will be. Make sure you have this information to hand:
- your postcode
- the name of your current gas and electricity supplier, and the name of your tariff . If you're not sure, look at your latest bill or contact your supplier
- how much you use in kilowatt hours (kWh) on gas and electricity, or how much you spend. Again, look at recent bills - or even better, look at your annual energy statement
- your bank or credit card details if you decide to switch and want to pay by direct debit.
The best way to find the cheapest energy deals is by visiting an independent energy comparison website, such as our own Which? Switch.
Types of energy tariff
There are a huge number of tariffs and deals on the market - here's a quick introduction to what's available:
If you want to get your gas and electricity from the same supplier, then taking a dual-fuel deal will pretty much always work out cheaper because of the dual-fuel discount. But if you are prepared to have separate suppliers for your gas and your electricity, then getting the cheapest deals for each fuel will work out even cheaper.
Online energy tariffs
If you choose an online (or paperless) tariff, you won't receive bills through the post and you'll have to manage at least some of your account over the internet.
But you'll often get a substantial discount for managing your account this way, and you can still call customer services if you have a problem and would like to speak to someone.
Fixed-price energy tariffs
Fixed-price tariffs guarantee the price you pay for your energy for a set period of time, and may give peace of mind if you're worried about possible future price rises.
Fixed deals tend to be cheaper than standard (variable) tariffs. We've found that fixed deals are, on average, 10% cheaper than standard tariffs.
It is estimated that as much as 75% of householders could be on a standard tariff for their energy.
A standard tariff (also known as a ‘variable’ tariff) is your supplier’s default tariff. If you have been with your supplier for a while or didn’t switch after your fixed deal came to an end, it is very likely you are on it. The cost of standard tariffs will go up and down each time your supplier changes its rates.
Our analysis of energy tariffs has found that customers of the Big Six energy companies who are on a standard tariff could save between £222 and £292 by switching to the cheapest deal on the market. So if you’re on a standard tariff and you want to save money, it's time to switch. Use our independent switching site Which? Switch.
Off-peak electricity tariffs
Off-peak electricity tariffs, such as Economy 7 and Economy 10, are best suited to people who can use more than 60% of their electricity late at night, such as those who heat their homes using storage heaters.
Economy 7 and 10 users have a special energy meter that can keep track of electricity units charged at different unit rates – a higher rate in the daytime and a lower rate between certain times at night or in the afternoon.
Social tariffs have traditionally been available to vulnerable customers struggling to pay their bills, but they are currently being replaced by a payment scheme called the Warm Home Discount. To find out more, and to see whether you're eligible, go to Warm Home Discount.
See our advice if you're unable to pay your energy bills.
Energy jargon buster
Kilowatt hour (kWh)
A unit of energy used on energy bills, showing how much power is used over a period of time. If an appliance uses 1,000 watts each hour and you run it for an hour, you have used 1kWh.
A standing charge is a fixed charge that you pay, often daily, regardless of whether or not you have used any energy. For very low users or second properties, it is worth seeking a tariff with a low or zero standing charge.
How much you are paying for each unit of energy that you use (on top of the standing charge).