Compare gas and electricity tariffs and feel the power!
If you've felt a pang of nervousness before opening the latest correspondence from your gas and electricity supplier, you're living in fear of a monster energy bill.
It doesn't have to be this way.
According to Ofgem in June 2018, the average standard variable tariff (SVT) costs £1,172 per year, while the cheapest available tariff was around £797. It goes without saying that SVT’s are generally more expensive than other tariff types and around 57% of people with the 10 largest suppliers are on them!
There's no bonus for loyalty when it comes to energy- it really does pay to shop around and switch to the cheapest deal.
It's not just homeowners who can get in on the energy switching action either, tenants could switch and save on their gas and electricity too.
Why should I switch my energy tariff?
The cost of your electricity and gas varies depending on how much you use. But you could save money by comparing energy tariffs to view some of the cheapest gas and electricity prices and see what works best for you.
Bright sparks know that...
Switching your energy provider could save you heaps – over 5.5 million customers changed suppliers in 2017!
How can I avoid energy price rises?
A new law was put through parliament in July 2018 to put a price cap on the rising gas and electricity prices for those on standard variable and default tariffs.
Ofgem will be put in charge of the cap which should last until at least 2020. While rising energy prices are still mostly unavoidable, you could save money by switching to another energy tariff.
There’s also something called a ‘warm home discount’ which supports people who are living in fuel poverty or are at risk, such as pensioners and less well-off people.
Types of energy tariffs
There are a few tariff options for all your gas and electricity needs:
- Standard variable tariff - this is the provider's default tariff, you'll be automatically moved to it when your tariff ends (it’s usually expensive)
- Dual fuel tariff - a tariff for both your gas and electricity. You'll only need to deal with one supplier for both, but it's worth shopping around to see if single fuel tariffs work out cheaper
- Fixed rate tariff - yes, you guessed it. Your tariff is fixed for a set period, during this time it will not fluctuate up or down
- Capped rate tariff - this allows the cost of your tariff to decrease and it won't be able to increase above a predetermined amount
- Green tariff - an environmentally friendly option which can either be from 100% renewable or a mix of renewable and non-renewable sources
- Collective tariff - enables people to group together to negotiate a deal on their energy with the supplier. You won't be able to find this option on comparison websites
- Prepayment energy tariff - You'll have a prepaid meter in your home which you can top up to continue using your gas and electricity
- Economy 7 tariffs – You’ll need to have an energy meter that measures electricity usage based on separate off-peak (7 hours at night, when energy is cheapest) and on-peak (the other 17 hours of the day) prices.
To find out which supplier has the cheapest tariff for gas and electricity, have a go at comparing them with GoCompare.
Why compare energy with GoCompare?
We'll automatically show you all the tariffs you can switch to through GoCompare, you also have the option to see only larger suppliers and you can toggle easily between both views.
How does GoCompare make money?
Want to know how energy suppliers pay us? Well, if you decide to switch to a tariff with us and our partner, Energylinx, we receive a small fee from the energy supplier once your cooling off period has ended.
This fee helps us maintain our website, improve our services and invest in our people, but don’t worry, you can trust us to do right by you.
This fee isn't lumped onto your bill - you'd get exactly the same price if you went direct. That's a promise.
What information do I need to start comparing energy?
The switching process can be simpler than you think – you’ll just need to enter your postcode and give details of your energy usage. If you don't have an energy bill to hand to find out your energy use, there are options throughout our online journey that can help you estimate.
Where are my energy meters and how do I take a reading?
You can find your current gas and electricity supplier by asking the previous occupant, the estate agent, the landlord or letting agency.
You could also use National Grid† or the Meter Point Administration Service (on 0870 608 1524) to find your gas supplier.
To find out who supplies your electricity you can enter your postcode on the Energy Networks Association website and you’ll be shown your local distribution company - you'll need to contact them to find your supplier.†
Most UK homes are fitted with a standard meter which shows you your usage in kilowatt hours (kWh).
To take a meter reading, make a note of the black numbers from left to right. Numbers that are in red are just after the decimal point and your supplier will not usually need those.
How does switching work - is it quick and easy?
You can switch your energy tariff without picking up the phone and talking to anyone. Hoorah!
Just switch online and your new supplier will sort it all out, including contacting your current energy provider, so no awkward goodbyes.
Want to know more about energy? Take a gander at our Gas and electricity library
Remember that you have a 14-day cooling off period between completing your application and the switching of your suppliers starting. So, if you're going to change your mind - that's the time to do it.
The switch shouldn’t take more than a few weeks, including the cooling off period.
Dual fuel switching is also easy peasy. When you’ve picked your new dual fuel tariff, the process is no different than those switching just their gas or electricity – you get a cooling off period, up-to-date meter readings will be taken and your new supplier will take cake of contacting your old one.
Will my gas and electricity be interrupted when I switch?
You'll experience no disruption in your energy supply and should seamlessly be hooked up to your new provider. It's as simple as that.
Small energy suppliers versus the 'big six'
Size doesn't matter, well at least not in the energy industry.
So make sure you check out smaller energy suppliers too. It's worth taking a look at customer service reviews to see their track record and how they deal with customers, in particular complaints.
As with the larger energy companies, the ‘best’ small energy provider will vary from person to person, depending on individual needs, whether you’re after a green energy supplier or a not-for-profit provider. Or just a tariff that’s cheap!
What about if I’m moving house or renting?
When you’re moving home, there are a few things you should note about your old home and your new one:
- Where your meters are
- Where the trip switch is
- Who your supplier is
- Your meter/supply number (can be found on your gas and electricity bills, not on the actual meter)
- What tariff you’re on
Contact your old energy supplier to let them know about the move, and do the same with your new energy supplier. If you don’t think the tariff you’re on in your new home is right for you, then GoCompare energy tariffs and see if you could save money.
If you’re renting and want to change your tariff, you have as much of a right to switch energy supplier as a homeowner. Let your landlord know before you go for it though.
Can I get a smart meter if I switch energy?
How we get paid
Smart meters record your gas and electricity use and send the details to your energy supplier without you needing to do anything (except plug it in).
The smart meter itself won’t save you money, but using it to keep an eye on how much electricity and gas you’re using could encourage you to think about how you can reduce your energy usage.
Smart meters are being rolled out in the UK and should be pretty much everywhere by 2020. They’re free to have and you can still switch energy suppliers if you have one.
You also don’t have to have one installed if you don’t want to. You can always opt out by contacting your supplier.
Is it possible to switch solar panel feed in tariffs?
Yes, you can but you’d have to switch to another supplier who is part of the scheme.
What happens once I’ve switched?
Once the changeover of your supply has been confirmed, all you need to do is pay off any outstanding debt to your old supplier and cancel any direct debts. Yep, that’s really it.
It’s not just your gas and energy bills you need to think about. What about boiler and central heating insurance? This could protect you (and your money) if something goes wrong with your heating.
Thinking about breaking away from the norm? Heating oil for domestic homes could be an option! If you can’t get a gas supply where you live, then you may have to look at heating oil alternatives.
Although you oil users may not be able to shop around and compare gas prices, you could still get a bargain on your electricity and why not try haggling with potential heating oil providers to see how much wiggle room they’ve got?
Are you a business owner? Comparing business energy tariffs could give you heaps of savings too!
Reduce your energy usage, and get a smart meter installed to monitor exactly how much energy you’re using.
Check that your bill is based on actual readings, rather than estimations. You may also be on a variable tariff because your price plan has ended, which is usually more expensive.
Keep in mind it’s not necessarily cheaper to get a dual fuel deal, so shop around and see what your options are.
If you apply to switch suppliers there'll be a cooling-off period of up to 14 days to allow you to change your mind if you think you've made a mistake.
If you don't give your energy supplier meter readings on a regular basis then your usage will be estimated, based on how you've used energy previously, or on national averages.
This code governs independent energy price comparison sites like our partner Energylinx. Sites covered by this code act independently from suppliers, so you can be sure the prices you’re seeing are calculated and displayed fairly and accurately.
Collective or community switching is a scheme you can register for to become part of a community. The community leader will negotiate gas and electricity deals with energy providers, using the group as part of the haggling
A standing charge is the fixed cost of supplying energy to your home, for things like maintenance and keeping you hooked up to the network. Standing charge prices vary, and not all tariffs include them, but you’ll probably be charged more per energy unit to make up for it.