Over £200 of savings could be yours by switching to one of the current cheapest energy tariffs, even while you're turning up the heating to beat the December chill.
If you have gas central heating, you'll use most of your gas during the winter months. Decorating your house with Christmas lights, slow-cooking comfort food and curling up with box sets on chilly evenings all increase your energy use at this time of year too. So being on a good value energy deal is crucial.
Being told that your gas and electricity bill is increasing even when you're on a fixed deal is a regular question we come across. Find out why this happens and what you can do about it below the table.
You can also phone us on 0800 410 1149 or 01259 220235.
You could save more than £180 over a year by switching to any of the cheapest tariffs listed below. That's assuming that you're currently on a tariff that costs the maximum permitted by the price cap and based on a home using a medium amount of gas and electricity. It's also based on paying by monthly direct debit.
How much you pay for energy and the exact amount you could save by switching depends on how much gas and electricity your home and family use. Prices also vary by region.
|Company||Tariff||Annual price (medium user)||Fixed/ variable||Exit fee||Savings compared with price cap|
|1||Outfox the Market||Fix'd 20 19.0 - paperless||£821||Fixed||None||£221|
|2||Simplicity Energy||2020 Cabbage - paperless||£823||Fixed||£35 per fuel||£219|
|3||Green||Aspen - paperless||£851||Variable||n/a||£191|
|4||Avro Energy||Simple and Superprime - paperless||£855||Fixed||None||£187|
|5||Shell Energy||Energy February 2022 v4 - paperless||£857||Fixed||£30 per fuel until 10th Jan 2022||£185|
Prices are based on widely available dual-fuel tariffs for a medium user (Using Ofgem averages of 12,000kWh gas and 2,900kWh electricity), paying by fixed monthly direct debit with paperless bills. Prices are averages across regions, rounded to the nearest whole pound and correct on 8 December 2020. Simplicity Energy's deal is not available in north Scotland.
The current cheapest deal, from Outfox the Market, has no exit fees so you're free to switch again whenever you wish. The same applies to the tariffs from Avro Energy and Green.
But you'd have to pay £70 to move to another deal or supplier if you wanted to leave Simplicity Energy's year-long 2020 Cabbage tariff early. The exit fees are slightly less on Shell Energy's tariff and it's a longer fixed deal - lasting until February 2022.
Exit fees don't apply in the last 49 days of your fixed tariff so you can arrange to switch penalty-free when it's coming to an end.
Variable deals never have exit fees.
Signing up for a fixed tariff guarantees that the rates you pay won't change for the length of the contract (often 12 or 24 months). But this doesn't mean that the amount you pay by direct debit can't change.
We often get queries about this. The first thing to note is that it's the daily standing charge and unit rate (the two elements that make up most energy tariffs) which are fixed, not the amount you pay each month.
Standing charge - a daily amount payable regardless of whether or not you use any gas or electricity.
Unit rate - the price of a kilowatt hour of gas or electricity.
If you signed up to a fixed deal and your supplier has told you it plans to increase your direct debit payments, consider the following:
If you disagree with your direct debit increase, you can challenge it with your supplier. First check whether your account is in credit and whether your current payments are likely to cover your annual usage (look at your online account or latest annual statement for this). Some firms let you alter your direct debit in your online account.
Your energy supplier must tell you in advance if it plans to change your payments (often 10 working days), according to the direct debit guarantee.
Some firms will let you opt-out of seasonal payments if you ask.
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).
Data is from Energylinx. Prices given are averages across regions, rounded to the nearest whole pound and correct on 8 December 2020.