On 1 April, energy companies were permitted to increase customers’ bills, by roughly £117 per year on average. However, there is a way out if you’re affected – and it could save you £329 per year.
The higher prices charged to customers on standard or default tariffs were a result of the energy regulator, Ofgem, raising its cap on these types of tariff. If you’re one of those customers, you certainly don’t have to resign yourself to paying more for gas and electricity.
A wider range of cheaper deals are starting to creep back onto the market. We found more than three times the number of deals costing less than £1,000 for the average user on sale in March, compared with December (before the first price cap was introduced). Switching to one of these could save you £329 per year.
Read on to see the cheapest energy deals available now. Or compare gas and electricity prices straightaway, using our independent comparison service, Which? Switch.
You can call us on 0800 410 1149 or 01259 220235.
Cheapest gas and electricity deals
Below we’ve listed the five-cheapest dual-fuel deals for this month, based on annual prices for a household which uses a medium amount of gas and electricity.
We’ve listed the price for a year, plus how much you would save compared with the current price cap level of £1,254 per year for customers on standard or default tariffs, which many firms are charging.
Your exact spend depends on how much gas and electricity you use.
The two cheapest deals come from Outfox the Market. However all of these deals cost within £13 a year of each other so you can save similar amounts regardless of which you choose.
None of the tariffs listed above have exit fees. This is good news if you don’t want to be locked into a contract in case you spot a cheaper tariff at a later date. Take care to pick the right deal when you switch, though. Other tariffs from Avro Energy, Outfox the Market and Yorkshire Energy do have exit fees. The highest are those on Outfox the Market’s nine-month BOOM! tariff, which are £50 per fuel.
Balance customer service with price when you pick a new energy firm. All of the suppliers listed above are too small to be included in our 2019 energy companies satisfaction survey. But if you’d like to see other options, check out the best and worst energy companies for 2019, based on feedback from their customers.
Are cheap energy deals disappearing?
With the majority of big energy firms raising the prices of their standard or default tariffs to the maximum permitted by the price cap, you’d be forgiven for thinking that gas and electricity prices overall are going up.
That’s not the whole story, however. In fact, we’ve found that there are more deals costing less than £1,000 per year on sale now than there were a few months ago.
Before the price cap on standard and default energy tariffs came into force, there were eight deals costing medium users less than £1,000 per year. Now there are 31 available, including the top five cheapest listed above.
Will there be more cheap deals?
Prices charged by energy firms depend on a range of factors including wholesale costs of gas and electricity, costs for maintaining the power and gas networks (including pipes and wires), government policies, delivering smart meters, suppliers’ running costs (such as sending you bills, responding to customer questions, and taking meter readings).
When the costs of any of these drop, it can lead to cheaper deals being sold. However, many energy companies buy gas and electricity months (or even years) in advance. So it can take a while for wholesale price changes to be seen by customers.
Wholesale costs have fallen in the past month, thanks to milder temperatures, lower demand and lower gas prices.
So this is one reason why we are seeing some cheaper deals return to the market.
Typically, cheaper deals are on sale at times of the year when customers are using less gas and electricity. So keep an eye out on our monthly round-ups of the cheapest deals this spring and summer.
Which? energy pricing research
Prices are based on a dual-fuel tariff available in all regions in England, Scotland and Wales paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless bills.
Energy use is based on Ofgem’s annual average figures for a medium user (12,000kWh gas and 3,100kWh electricity per year).
Data is from Energylinx. Price given are averages across regions, rounded to the nearest whole pound and correct on 2 April 2019.