With more people working from home and schools closed, home energy usage has increased dramatically in recent weeks. For the average household, energy usage has increased by 56% – rising to 75% among those with school-age children – according to Ofgem.
Despite this, only 35% of people have thought about their bills increasing. Now more than ever, with many out of work or furloughed, it’s a good time to be sure you’re getting the best deal on your energy bills.
Although no one can know the potential impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the energy sector over the next few months, we’re not aware of any specific problems with switching right now.
Read on to see May’s top energy deals from highly rated suppliers or see our recent story on whether now is a good time to switch energy company.
May’s top tariffs from highly rated energy providers
Here, we show the five cheapest energy tariffs from highly rated energy suppliers, based on the annual cost for a household with medium gas and electricity use. However, your exact bill will depend on how much energy your household uses, and could be higher or lower than the prices listed below. Rates also vary by region, so your costs will be affected by your location.
We’ve also calculated how much you can save with each tariff as compared with the current price cap, which limits how much suppliers can charge per kilowatt hour (kWh) for electricity and gas. This is currently set at £1,127 per year for a medium user.
All but one of this month’s best deals are fixed for a year, so your price-per-unit will remain the same for the duration of the tariff. Two of these come with exit fees, though – so it could cost you £10 or £60 if you decide to switch before the end of your contract. Variable deals don’t have exit fees, but the firm can decide to increase or decrease its rates – although it must give you 30 days’ notice of a change in price.
People’s Energy’s tariff requires you to pay for your first two months of energy usage upfront, so it may not be the tariff for you if you live paycheque to paycheque, but it has the potential to save you money in the long run.
Cheapest deals from Which? Recommended Providers
The cheapest tariff available from a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) in May comes from So Energy. This will save you £273 per year (based on a household using a medium amount of gas and electricity), compared with the current price cap. It typically takes ‘seasonal payments’, meaning that your direct debit falls in summer and rises in winter, but you can choose to pay an equal bill each month if you prefer.
Octopus Energy’s and Pure Planet’s cheapest tariffs are both just under £50 more expensive than So Energy’s. Octopus Energy was this year’s highest-scoring WRP and one of just two firms to achieve a five-star rating for how it handles complaints.
Pure Planet’s 100% green paperless tariff has a variable-rate tariff, costing £225 less than the price cap per year at present, although, unlike the other two, the price could go up and down with any movements in the market. See the full results of our annual energy companies satisfaction survey, including other highly rated energy firms.
Which? energy pricing research
Prices are based on a dual-fuel tariff available in the regions stated, paying by fixed monthly direct debit, with paperless bills. Energy use is based on Ofgem’s annual average figures for a medium user (12,000kWh gas and 2,900kWh electricity per year). Data is from Energylinx. Prices given are averages across regions, rounded to the nearest whole pound and correct on 4 May 2020.