What is a fixed rate energy tariff?
A fixed rate energy tariff guarantees the unit rates and standing charges of your gas and electricity for a set period of time, meaning you’ll be protected from any energy price rises. It doesn’t mean your energy bills will stay the same price for that period – they’ll go up or down depending on how much gas or electricity you use.
You’re generally locked into a fixed rate tariff for the whole of the term and will have to pay exit fees if you want to end it early. While most fixed rate tariffs last 12 months, some suppliers offer longer terms, up to three or even four years. When your fixed rate tariff ends you'll be switched to the supplier's variable rate, so you will probably need to look for a better tariff as your contract comes to an end.
Frequently asked questions
What's the difference between a fixed and variable tariff?
Unlike a fixed tariff, with a variable tariff the price of your energy can go up and down according to energy rates at the time.
Variable tariffs are flexible because you’re not usually tied into a contract. You can change supplier (or tariff) whenever you like, without any restrictions like exit fees. The downside is that flexible tariffs tend to be more expensive.
Can a fixed rate energy tariff save me money?
Fixed rate tariffs tend to be one of the cheaper options and are good for budgeting because, as long as your energy use year-on-year is consistent, your bills will be around the same amount, as the same rate is applied to your usage.
If you use more gas and electricity in the winter months, you’ll need to make sure you factor this in when you budget your household expenses. Your annual consumption from last year should give you an idea of what this is, so check your old bills or online account. If you need a hand to calculate it, we can help you estimate this when doing a quote.
The drawback of fixed tariffs is that if energy prices go down you won’t benefit because you’re locked into paying the fixed price until the end of the term.
What other options are available if I choose a fixed rate tariffs?
With a fixed rate tariff, the amount you pay for each unit of energy and the daily standing charges are fixed to a set date in the future – but the size of your bill will depend on how much energy you use. These tariffs will help protect you from energy price rises.
Within fixed rate tariffs there are various options you can consider and choose to suit your needs:
- Single or dual fuel – you buy gas and electricity from different suppliers (single fuel) or from the same supplier (dual fuel), which is often more convenient and can sometimes give you a cheaper deal. Dual fuel tariffs can be fixed or variable.
- Online account or paper billing – running your energy billing online offers potential savings and ease, because there’s no paperwork for your supplier to post to you. All correspondence and account management is done online. Some suppliers will charge you an extra fee if you want paper bills sent in the post.
- Green tariffs or normal tariffs – green tariffs have a focus on the environment, such as sourcing energy from renewables, normal tariffs will source their power from a variety of typical sources which may or may not include renewables.
- Timed economy tariffs or standard all-day tariffs – timed pricing such as economy 7 – offer cheap ‘off-peak’ energy during certain times. Anything outside of those hours can be a lot more expensive. All other types of plan just charge the same amount whatever time of day you use the gas or electricity.
Need more detail? Read our guide, energy tariffs explained.
How can I compare fixed rate energy tariffs?
It’s simple – just compare energy suppliers and choose the ‘fixed rate tariff’ option when we ask which tariff you’re interested in. Then choose a quote that suits you and apply online. Don't forget it's worth having a look to see whether you can get a cheaper deal if you choose both gas and electricity from the same supplier or different suppliers.