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Frequently asked questions

  • How is gas and electricity measured and priced?
  • What types of fuel tariff are there?
  • Should I switch supplier to save on my energy bill?
  • How do I compare suppliers for my fuel?
  • If I find a good fuel tariff, how do I switch?

How is gas and electricity measured and priced?

Electricity and gas companies measure how much fuel you use in kilowatt hours (kWh). Ofgem states that the average usage is around 12,500kWh of gas and 3,100kWh of electricity each year – but this will vary depending on the size of your home and the number of people living in it.

Energy companies compete on cost and service to win your business. Tariffs are generally made up of two charges – standing charge and unit rates. A standing charge is the rate you’re charged per day and the unit rate is the amount you’re charged per kWh for the energy you use. When you do a quote with us, based on the information you provide us about your usage, we calculate what tariff combination of standing charges and unit rates is better for you, so we can let you know the costs you’d expect to pay and the savings you’d make.

The unit cost of your gas or electricity is influenced by its wholesale price – which is what your supplier pays for it. But providers also need to factor in things like the cost of transporting fuel, government levies, VAT, as well as their own profit and operating costs, on top of the actual raw cost of the energy. 

So, energy is a competitive market and prices change all the time – which is why the majority of our customers opt for a fixed rate tariff to avoid being affected by changing rates in the market.  

What types of fuel tariff are there?

There are lots of different fuel (or energy) tariffs and they can vary greatly between suppliers, even if they have the same or similar names. You can buy tariffs as a single fuel (only gas or only electricity) or you can buy a dual fuel tariff, which is having both your gas and electricity on the same tariff from the same supplier. The most commonly known tariffs are:

  • Variable rate tariff – flexible, with the freedom to leave at any time without having to pay exit fees. But be aware that prices can fluctuate wildly depending on what the market is doing – not great if you like to plan and budget
  • Fixed rate tariff – your standing charge and unit rate is fixed. But your bills can go up or down depending on how much energy you’re using. If you’re consistent with your usage though, it can help you manage costs.  
  • Capped tariff - the cost of your energy per unit (KwH) is capped at a certain point – and it won’t go over this agreed amount. Prices can go down as well as up, but the overall cost will depend on how much gas or electricity you use – and a capped tariff is usually not the cheapest on the market.
  • Dual fuel tariff – when you buy both your gas and electricity from the same supplier it’s known as dual fuel. It can be cheaper because suppliers often discount to get more of your custom, but it doesn’t always work out that way – so, always compare before you sign on the dotted line.

Find more about these tariffs and what else is on offer – such as  online and green tariffs in our energy tariffs explained guide.

Should I switch supplier to save on my energy bill?

You should certainly have a look. On average, customers could save up to £355** on their annual energy bill by switching supplier.

**50% of people could achieve a saving of £355 on their dual fuel energy costs based on Compare the Market data in September 2018.   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
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How do I compare suppliers for my fuel?

Just start a quote, answer a few questions about your energy use and we’ll present you with a selection of tariffs based on what you need. All you have to do is decide which one you like the look of most.

It’s good to have a recent energy bill to hand because all the answers to help you get an accurate quote will be there. Things such as:

  • who your current supplier is
  • your current tariff name
  • your energy consumption in kWh or in pounds
  • whether bills are paid monthly or quarterly

If you don’t have your bill handy, don’t worry – you can still start a quote to get an estimate to see if you can save, and you can easily amend your quote later when you have your bill handy.

It’s a good idea to have a think about what you’re after – we know you want to save money but think about what else is important to you. 

For example, you might want an energy supplier that supports environmental projects or sources green energy. Or, you might be a stickler for customer service. You can vary the search results by these factors before you make your switch.

If I find a good fuel tariff, how do I switch?

Once you’ve compared the plans with our quote tool, and found a new tariff, just read all the information and click to switch online. We'll then send your details over to the supplier to start the switch process.

Switching can happen in as little as 21 days but can take up to six weeks. It's usually straightforward because whoever supplies your fuel will use the same pipes and wires, so there’ll be no changing of pipes or equipment and no interruption to your energy supply. The only thing you should notice are cheaper bills.

If you want to find out how long it might take to change suppliers, take a look at our guide to switching times. To make sure switches are quick, easy and hiccup free energy suppliers have to stick to theEnergy switch guarantee. 

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