Are you among the 66% of people worried about the price of energy? Spring temperatures usually signal lower gas and electricity bills as you use less to heat your home. But recent price rises mean you still need to take action to keep your bills in check.
Energy prices are the joint-biggest consumer worry, along with fuel costs, our latest tracker has revealed. It’s no wonder that the number of people concerned about energy has risen from 57% six months ago.
Since September 2016, we’ve seen price rises from most of the big energy firms, GB Energy Supply go bust, debate about the impact of Brexit on energy prices, and MPs calling for action on pricey energy bills.
Price rises from Eon and SSE are due to come into effect at the end of the month. EDF Energy, Npower and Scottish Power’s standard tariff increases hit customers in March.
If your supplier is raising its prices, or you’re worried about your energy bills, there are a few simple steps you can take to cut your costs. This month’s cheapest dual fuel energy deal costs £834 per year – a saving of £353 compared with Npower’s £1,186 standard tariff.
Keep reading to see other cheap gas and electricity deals, and for tips on how to cut your energy bills now.
Use our independent gas and electricity comparison website, Which? Switch, to find the best energy deal for you. If you’d prefer to call, you can phone Which? Switch on 0800 410 1149 or 01259 220235.
Could you save £353 on your energy bill?
Switching from any standard dual fuel tariff with a Big Six energy firm to the cheapest deal this month will save you over £200 per year. The cheapest tariff is a fixed deal without an exit fee, meaning that you can switch supplier again at any time without paying a penalty.
Iresa’s Flex4 12 month Fixed Direct Debit has been the cheapest dual fuel tariff (for a medium energy user) since February 2017. The small Nottingham-based supplier says it keeps prices down by ‘running a lean and efficient energy supply business’.
Iresa pays 4.5% interest on customers’ credit balances each month, but does not offer the Warm Home Discount.
All bar one of the cheapest dual fuel deals are from small energy suppliers this month. The exception is Economy Energy, which has around 200,000 customers.
While small suppliers often offer cheap deals, they don’t necessarily offer the Warm Home Discount or pay feed-in tariffs if you have solar panels, and might not be installing smart meters yet. If these are important to you, check with your chosen supplier before switching.
Use our energy companies survey results to find out how firms compare on customer service, billing, pricing and more.
Top-five cheapest energy deals for April 2017
Here are the top-five cheapest energy deals. We also show you how much you’d save a year if you switched from a standard variable tariff with Npower or British Gas. These two are selected as they’re the priciest and cheapest Big Six standard variable tariffs.
£834 Iresa Flex4 12 month Fixed Direct Debit Paperless. No exit fee, fixed tariff. £353 saving from Npower, £210 saving from British Gas.
£843 Economy Energy Direct Saver 2017 (v3) Paperless. Exit fee: £25 per fuel, fixed tariff. £344 saving from Npower, £202 saving from British Gas.
£870 Octopus Energy Loyal Octopus 12 month Fixed December 2016 v1 Paperless. No exit fee, fixed tariff. £317 saving from Npower, £174 saving from British Gas. (This tariff is no longer on sale)
£870 Avro Energy Simple and Go Paperless. No exit free, fixed tariff. £317 saving from Npower, £174 saving from British Gas.
£880 Tonik Energy Positive Energy v2 Paperless. No exit fee, variable tariff. £307 saving from Npower, £164 saving from British Gas.
(How these prices are calculated: Prices are based on a dual fuel tariff for an average user [using 3,100kWh of electricity and 12,500kWh of gas per year], paying by direct debit, with paperless bills and are averaged across all regions. Exact prices can vary according to region, usage and payment method. The prices given in the table above are correct as of 5 April 2017.)
Cut your energy bill now
Once you’re on the best tariff, reducing the amount of gas and electricity you use is key to cutting your energy costs long-term. A few simple changes could help reduce your annual bill by £100s:
- Turn down your heating by 1°C to save £80-85 per year. For elderly people and those with impaired mobility, the temperature shouldn’t drop below 16°C.
- Replace your light bulbs to save £180. LED bulbs cost around £1.71 a year and last for around 25,000 hours. Compared with a traditional incandescent light bulb, they also use 90% less energy.
- Choose energy-efficient models when you come to replace your appliances. Washing machine running costs vary by £80 and fridge-freezer running costs vary by £89 per year, for example.
For more tips, see the best ways to save on energy bills.
Would you buy a broadband and energy bundle?
Compare and switch suppliers
First Utility started selling broadband last month, initially only to its existing energy customers. It’s not the first energy firm to branch out beyond gas and electricity.
SSE already has a broadband package and gives energy customers a discount on their bill if they buy broadband, too.
But both follow in the footsteps of Utility Warehouse, which has been bundling energy with phone and broadband deals for years.
Check our best broadband packages guide to see how SSE and Utility Warehouse broadband compare.
Bundling with broadband isn’t the only energy innovation. British Gas is the founder of Hive Active Heating and customers can get a discounted Hive smart thermostat. Npower partners with Nest to offer discounts to customers on Nest smart thermostats.
British Gas announced a rewards package set to launch this spring, including Sky entertainment, loyal customer discounts on energy, and bundled tariffs including insurance – full details are yet to be finalised.
(All energy tariff pricing data is supplied by Energylinx. It’s based on a dual fuel medium user [3,100kWh electricity and 12,500kWh gas per year], paying by monthly direct debit and choosing paperless billing. Prices are averaged across UK regions and correct on 5 April 2017.)
Data about the top consumer worries is taken from our consumer tracker.