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Compare gas prices – what you need to know
By running a gas price comparison, you’re able to check that you’re getting a value-for-money deal. Whether you get your gas and electricity together or from separate suppliers, comparing gas suppliers can help you save money.
What types of gas tariff do gas suppliers offer?
There are different types of gas tariffs to compare, depending on your needs. When making a gas comparison, the main types of tariff to consider are:
A fixed-rate tariff guarantees a fixed unit rate and standing charge for your gas over a set period. Although these two charges stay the same during the length of your contract, your energy bills can still go up or down depending on how much gas you use.
Fixed-rate tariffs typically last between 12 and 18 months. After that, you’ll be moved onto your supplier’s standard variable rate tariff. Or you can choose to switch to a new, potentially cheaper fixed-rate deal.
Also known as standard variable rate tariffs (SVTs). With this type of tariff, the price can go up or down, depending on the wholesale market price of gas. It’s what you’ll be moved onto once your fixed-rate deal comes to an end.
Unfortunately, because of the current energy crisis, the high cost of wholesale gas is being passed on to the customer. So if you’re on a variable rate tariff, you’ll probably be paying more for your gas than before. Ofgem offers some protection from price hikes by setting an energy price cap, which limits the rates a supplier can charge for their SVTs.
If you have a prepaid meter, you can pay for your gas in advance by loading money onto a card, key, token or via your supplier’s app. You then top up when you need to.
Gas per unit can be more expensive than for a standard meter. But in the March 2023 budget, the government promised that it would bring prepayment energy charges in line with customers who pay by direct debit, so the price difference is set to change.
A prepayment meter can help you to stick to a budget if you struggle with your finances. You’ll also avoid any hefty unexpected gas bills arriving in the post.
Learn more in our guide to prepayment meters.
Why is the price of gas so high right now?
The rise in gas rates is a global problem. A combination of factors including higher demand as countries came out of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have made prices more volatile. Gas companies are having to pay more for wholesale gas and this is being passed to the consumer.
What happens if my gas supplier goes bust?
Don’t panic. Energy regulator Ofgem has a safety net in place to protect customers if their gas supplier goes bust. You’ll be automatically switched to a new supplier and there’ll be no interruption to your gas supply.
Unfortunately, Ofgem can’t guarantee that the tariff with your new supplier will be the same as with your previous one. However, the energy price cap means that you can’t be charged more than that level. Big suppliers also bulk-buy much of their gas months in advance, so you may be protected from a major price hike in the short term.
Ofgem also advises customers to sit tight and wait to be switched. It only takes a few days and they’ll take care of everything for you. After the switch, your new gas supplier will contact you. You can ask to be put on their cheapest tariff or switch to another supplier if you want to – you won’t be charged an exit fee. Just be aware that there are a limited number of deals at the moment.
Find out more about what happens if your energy supplier goes bust.
How to switch gas suppliers
Once you’ve finished your gas supplier comparison and chosen a new gas package, the switching process is simple and safe.
Your new supplier will ask you to fill out a short form
They’ll arrange a switching date and ask for a meter reading to make sure they’re able to bill you accurately. They’ll also contact your current supplier to let them know you’re switching.
There’s a two-week ‘cooling off’ period, during which you can change your mind and cancel the switch, if you want.
What information do I need to start comparing gas suppliers and prices?
It’s useful to have your latest bill to hand, however we use industry data from trusted sources to estimate your energy spend so you can still compare prices and see if you can save money even if you haven’t got the information to hand.
What is a dual fuel tariff?
A dual fuel tariff is when you get both your gas and electricity from the one supplier.
It can make life simpler as you’ll only get one energy bill. Some energy companies also offer a discount for combining your electricity and gas.
However, there’s no guarantee that a dual fuel tariff will be cheaper than buying from separate suppliers. It’s a good idea to do an energy comparison to see if combined or separate electricity and gas tariffs offer better value.
How can I reduce my gas bill?
With many energy companies passing rising prices to customers, cheap gas may seem a bit far-fetched at the moment. But there are still ways that could help cut the cost of your gas bill:
- Submit regular meter readings to your gas company to ensure an accurate, not estimated bill. Learn how
- If you have a smart meter you can use the in-home display to monitor your gas usage, then take steps to reduce your energy consumption.
- Turn down your thermostat, but make sure you have a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C to protect your health.
- Turn your combi boiler flow temperature down to 60°C. This could save you up to £100 a year.
- Turn down radiators in rooms you aren’t using or use less. This could save you up to £70 a year.
- Install a water-efficient shower head and cut down on time spent in the shower – just one minute less each day could save you money.
- Replace your boiler – switch an old boiler for a new energy-efficient model.
- If you receive certain benefits or are on a low income, find out if you’re eligible for the Government’s Warm Home Discount Scheme.
- Keep an eye out for new deals – sign up to our energy savings alerts and we’ll let you know when you could start saving money
- When it’s time to switch, compare energy deals to see if you can save.
Frequently asked questions
What is the energy price cap?
The energy price cap is set by Ofgem to protect customers from being unreasonably charged for their energy. The cap rate limits the amount energy companies can charge customers on standard variable rates or prepayment tariffs. The price cap has been joined by the government's Energy Price Guarantee, to help limit the cost of gas and electricity bills.
Find out how the energy price cap works and what it could mean for you and your gas bill.
How reliable are small energy suppliers?
Because of their lower overheads, small energy suppliers can typically offer cheaper deals and a better customer service to their customers.
But the energy crisis has hit smaller energy suppliers badly, with a number going bust in recent years. If your small energy supplier goes bust, you’ll be protected by the Ofgem safety net. The worst that can happen is you may be moved onto a bigger supplier’s default tariff, which could be more expensive.
Ofgem provides some useful information and advice if you’re concerned about your small supplier going bust.
Is gas cheaper than electric?
In a normal market, gas is typically cheaper than electricity to buy per unit (kWh). However, the cost of installing gas is often much more expensive. If your home already has gas, it’s normally the cheaper way to go.
But if you’re deciding whether to switch energy suppliers, you should consider how long you plan to be in your current house. In the short term, installing gas may not be worth it. But if you’re settled in your home, you can save a significant amount in the long run by switching to gas.
Do I need new equipment or gas pipes?
Switching your gas tariff doesn’t require any building, plumbing or rewiring. You won’t notice any changes, except to the price of your gas bill. If you decide to switch to a smart meter you may need your meter replacing.
When can I switch gas suppliers?
If you’re on a fixed tariff, your supplier should give you between 42 and 49 days’ notice that it’s coming to an end. This is a handy reminder to start comparing to see if you can get a better deal. If you leave mid-contract, you might have to pay a penalty to exit.
If you’re on a standard variable contract, you’re free to switch at any time.
How long does it take to switch gas suppliers?
Gas companies who sign up to the Energy switch guarantee promise switches will be completed in 21 days.
This timeframe includes a two-week cooling off period in which you can change your contract or cancel it completely. Your energy supply won’t be interrupted at any point throughout the transition period.
Are there green gas suppliers available?
Green gas suppliers are still quite new, so they won’t all be available in every area of the country. If you’ve found a likely candidate for your gas supply, check with them to see if they cover your region.
There are a few approaches to generating eco-friendly gas. Some suppliers generate natural gas using innovative renewable processes such as anaerobic digesters, which break down plant matter or animal waste to release gas that can be used as fuel.
I've heard gas boilers are being banned soon. Do I need to get rid of mine?
No. If you've got an existing gas boiler, you don't need to do anything. What's changing is that no new gas boilers will be installed in new homes after 2025. Instead, new properties will have alternative systems, like heat pumps.
However, if you have a very old gas boiler, you might find that a new gas boiler is much more energy efficient – so it might be worth the expense of upgrading in the longer term.
Will I get a smart meter from my new gas supplier?
It depends on whether they’re available from your supplier, in your area. The national roll-out programme aims to fit smart meters in all UK homes by the end of 2025.
Can I switch gas suppliers if I’m a renter?
If you’re directly responsible for paying your energy bills then yes, you should be able to switch gas suppliers without informing your landlord. You can normally tell if you’re directly responsible as your name will be on the energy bills, not your landlord’s.
If, however, your landlord includes the cost of energy in your rent, you’ll need to speak to them first. In this situation, they’ll have to make the switch themselves. If you’re not sure whether you’re responsible for paying for your energy, check your tenancy agreement.
Can I switch gas supplier if I am on a prepayment meter?
As long as you owe less than £500, you should be able to switch gas suppliers if you have a prepayment meter. Prepayment tariffs are generally more expensive than those for standard credit meters – though this is set to change in 2024 – so you might want to see if you can switch to a credit meter instead. You may have to pass a credit check first though.
Most suppliers will change your meter for free, but some smaller providers may charge for this service.
How can I find out who my current gas supplier is?
Will I have to pay an exit fee when I switch suppliers?
If you’re on a fixed-rate tariff and want to switch suppliers, you’ll usually have to pay an exit fee to get out of your contract unless you’re within 49 days of the tariff end date. Even if you do have to pay a fee, it might still be worthwhile making the switch. Work out how much you could save by switching to another supplier and subtract the exit fee, to see if you’d be better off.
If you’re on a standard variable tariff, you won’t usually be required to pay an exit fee.
What our expert says...
“It’s important to compare gas prices to make sure you’re getting a great deal to help you save money. With more of us working from home, your heating may be on more often, so every pound you can save counts towards reducing your household bills.”
- Sajni Shah, Utilities comparison expert