Energy switching leaps 1,400%, with 76% of customers opting for fixed tariffs and long-term fixes proving popular
Over 18 million SSE, British Gas and npower customers will be affected by the energy giants’ recent winter price rises, but many have already hit back, switching to other providers and taking control of their future bills by signing up to fixed tariffs.
Since SSE announced its 8.2% energy price increase on 10 October, Gocompare.com has seen a 1,400% increase in people switching tariffs. Most (76%) are choosing to fix their energy prices, with 30% of these fixing for the long term, opting for tariffs that are fixed until 2017.
Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: “Prior to these winter price hikes only 14%* of households had switched their energy tariff in the last year, but the increasing cost of gas and electricity has woken people up to the fact that they need to act in order to avoid paying more than they need to for these essential services.
“Some people may be wondering if there’s any point switching when the rest of the big six – EDF, E.ON and Scottish Power – are sure to raise their prices soon too, but there is a way to ensure that you won’t get hit by further price hikes for quite some time, and that is to move to a fixed tariff now.
“Fixed tariffs like EDF’s Blue+ Price Freeeeze March 2017 mean that you can protect against price rises for the next four winters, and those from smaller, independent suppliers like First Utility’s iSave Fixed v10 January 2016, let you fix for more than two years.”
Gocompare.com’s top tariff tips:
- Sign up online – online tariffs are the cheapest option. You won’t get paper bills and will be able to submit meter readings and manage your account via your supplier’s website or, in some cases, through smartphone apps.
- Combine fuels – if you have both mains gas and electricity, it’s worth considering signing up to a dual fuel tariff with the same supplier. It can save you money as energy companies may give discounts for buying both fuels from them.
- Pay by monthly direct debit – this is the cheapest payment method. However, make sure you supply monthly meter readings to avoid over- or under-paying and ending up having to up your monthly payment significantly.
- Fix – signing up to a fixed tariff can be a gamble, as you won’t benefit from any price reductions, but winter price rises usually dwarf any summertime cuts, so if it’s consistency in energy pricing you’re after, these tariffs are for you. Be aware of any cancellation fees should you terminate your contract early, though.
- Switch regularly – if you find that you could be paying less for your energy elsewhere, switch. Likewise, when you get a letter from your supplier informing you that your current deal is coming to an end, switch. It takes around four to six weeks to transfer from one supplier to another, so as soon as you get this letter it’s time to shop around. Over half of people who switch save £150 or more.**
Jeremy added: “Those who are on an energy supplier’s standard tariff and paying by cash or cheque will be charged the most for their energy. And it’s an unfortunate truth that they are usually those who can least afford to pay over the odds, such as the elderly, or those without access to the Internet. If someone you know can’t get online, help them compare energy tariffs – all you need is their postcode and current energy usage, which you can get from their existing supplier.
“There’s no need to pay more for your gas and electricity than you need to; it all comes through the same pipes and down the same lines after all.“
Effect of winter energy price rises so far***
Annual bill in August 2013
Price rise (%)
Annual bill after winter 2013 price rises
For more information or to compare gas, electricity and dual fuel tariffs today, visit: www.gocompare.com/gas-and-electricity/.
Notes to editors:
*On 12th - 13th June 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,002 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
**Between 1 April 2013 and 30 June 2013, at least 51% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas and electricity with Gocompare.com saved £153.21 or more.
*** Based on a medium user (3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas per year), with a dual fuel standard tariff; averaged by payment method (monthly direct debit, cash and cheque, or on receipt of bill); and averaged across all regions