Today’s the day your energy bill will start to rise if you’re on a standard gas and electricity tariff and your supplier is increasing its prices to match the new price cap. But you can start saving up to £264 a year by switching energy supplier.
We reported last month that many of the biggest energy firms are raising their prices. This is because the price cap that limits rates for customers on standard tariffs (also known as default tariffs or out-of-contract tariffs) is increasing.
But standard tariffs are rarely the best value. So now’s the time to find a new tariff or supplier to dodge the price rise, get a deal that’s cheaper than your standard one, and all without sacrificing good customer service.
Keep reading to find out the other main reasons why people leave their energy supplier – besides price – and how to find the energy supplier that’s best for you.
Compare gas and electricity prices using Which? Switch, our free and independent energy comparison website, to find out how much you could save on your energy bills.
You can also phone us on 0800 410 1149 or 01259 220235.
Top five cheapest gas and electricity deals
All of the deals below will save at least £224 on your energy bills over the next year. The savings are based on a household using a medium amount of gas and electricity and on a tariff that costs the maximum allowed by the price cap, as of today.
We’ve looked at widely available tariffs with paperless bills and direct debit payment, as this is the most common way to pay and usually the cheapest. If you pay another way, use more or less energy or want paper bills, then the amount you will pay and save by switching will vary.
|Company||Tariff||Annual price (medium user)||Fixed/ variable||Exit fee||Savings compared with the price cap|
|1||Orbit Energy||Spring Vari-Save Extra||£874||Variable||None||£264|
|2||Hub Energy||Hub Smart Choice Tariff 12 April 22 v1||£903||Fixed||£30 per fuel||£235|
|4||Outfox the Market||Spring 21 Variable||£908||Variable||None||£230|
|5||Avro Energy||Simple and GoSwitcher||£914||Fixed||£30 per fuel||£224|
Two of this month’s cheapest deals are from energy firms rated highly in our latest customer satisfaction survey. Both Outfox the Market and Avro Energy finished in the top three highest-scoring firms out of 25.
You’ll need to pay a bit more for deals with our Which? Recommended Providers, Pure Planet and Octopus Energy. Pure Planet’s cheapest tariff is £76 pricier than those listed above, per year, and Octopus Energy’s cheapest is £119 dearer. But both are still more than £100 cheaper, per year, than the price cap.
Several of the cheapest deals are variable. This means that you can change to another tariff or energy firm without penalty whenever you want. It also means that the firm can change the price of the tariff so, if energy prices increase, you could pay more. It must give you 30 days’ warning though.
A fixed price deal ensures the price of your tariff will stay the same for the length of your contract. There are exit fees to leave the cheapest fixed deals before the end of the contract, but they don’t have to stop you switching if you find a deal that will save you more than the exit fee costs.
Energy prices are the main reason for switching
When we asked over seven thousand energy customers* why they wanted to leave their energy supplier, the biggest reasons were all to do with cost:
- 49% found prices were too expensive
- 23% said their fixed deal ended
- 14% found a better deal elsewhere
Follow our tips for how to get the best energy deal.
Some 86% of people who switched energy supplier in our survey said it was easy. But if things don’t go to plan, remember that you’re owed £30 of automatic compensation if:
- You are switched without your permission or by mistake
- Your switch isn’t completed with 15 working days (this begins after the 14-day cooling-off period)
- Your supplier doesn’t send you a final bill within six weeks of leaving it
- Any credit you are owed isn’t refunded within 10 working days of your final bill.
Though that £30 compensation is ‘automatic’, you might need to tell your energy supplier about the problem. Between May 2019 and October 2020, suppliers paid just under £5.2m compensation to customers.
Save money on your bills – follow our simple steps to find out how to switch energy supplier.
More reasons to switch energy supplier
Price is far from the only reason to switch. Other reasons mentioned by more than 5% of customers in our survey included:
- 12% said their supplier’s customer service was poor
See the best and worst energy companies, according to their customers, to find a firm whose service will suit you. We’ve calculated ratings for customer service as well as how the firms handle complaints, should it come to that.
- 10% wanted a more sustainable supplier or tariff
Energy firms take a range of approaches to selling renewable electricity, with some generating it themselves or having agreements with generators to buy their power. Others sell green gas or offset the carbon emissions of their activities. Read more about how to choose the best energy company.
- 7% had a problem with bills or payments
When you need to get in touch with your supplier to sort out a problem, you don’t want to be left waiting. Find out how long it took to phone energy suppliers in our snapshot investigation.
- 6% no longer wanted to be with one of the biggest firms
We’ve rated 25 energy firms in our latest survey. It revealed that the best service does not come from the biggest suppliers, or the most-established. But there’s one big firm that’s an exception – see the Which? energy survey results to find out who it is.
- 6% said their supplier’s communications were confusing or contradictory
Check our ratings for how accurate and clear energy firms’ bills are, based on the opinions of their customers, in our energy company reviews. Some firms achieved a full five stars for accurate bills, while a couple managed just two stars for how clear their bills are.
Which? energy research
*In September 2020, we ran on online survey of 7,460 members of the general public who are responsible for paying gas or electricity bills in their household.
Prices are based on widely available dual-fuel tariffs, 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).
Comparisons are based on the current price cap, correct at 1 April 2021.
Data is from Energylinx and correct on 1 April 2021. Prices given are averages across regions, rounded to the nearest whole pound.