A simples guide

What should I look for in my energy tariff?

Everyone likes to save a bit of cash but when you look at your household bills it can be hard to know where to make cuts. One good (and easy) way to reduce bills is to consider switching energy supplier. This is where we come in. Our simples guide will help answer all those little queries about what you should be looking for when it comes to finding the best energy tariff for you.

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What’s the best energy tariff for me?

Well, that depends on how you use your energy and whether you value certainty over flexibility – tough choice, right? But whatever your needs, never fear because there’ll be a tariff to suit you – you just need to be clear about what it is you want.

I want to save loads of money

Ok – so if saving money is the be all and end all then you should consider an online energy tariff. These deals tend to be the cheapest ones around.

With online deals, you’ll manage everything online. And that means everything – welcome packs, contracts, bills, payments and even queries and issues will be dealt with solely through the power of the internet (although most providers will still have an option to call an advisor in some instances). This is a great option if you’d rather manage everything from your device.

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I want to know where I stand and budget my energy spend

If sticking to a budget is your thing and you don’t like surprises, then consider a fixed energy tariff. Fixed rate energy deals fix the amount you pay per kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy (this is how your energy usage is calculated) and are often cheaper than other deals. You can also get online fixed rate deals too if that’s still important to you.

The advantage of having a fixed rate is that whilst your bill will vary based on how much energy you use, the actual amount you pay per kWh, won’t. It’ll give you certainty as your energy bill should remain fairly static if your energy consumption is steady so it means your bills won’t suddenly skyrocket. But the disadvantage is that you won’t benefit from any reductions in wholesale energy costs that you might on a variable tariff.

Fixed tariffs (as their name suggests) are set for a period of time, if you decide you want to change suppliers then you might be charged an exit fee if you leave your current energy contract early. Don’t let that put you off though as Which.co.uk has found that most suppliers charge £25-£30 per fuel.

I’m a free spirit and don’t want to be tied down

If you like being footloose and fancy free then you may choose to stick with a standard (variable) tariff, however keep in mind that these are often more expensive than fixed tariffs. Think of this as an energy supplier’s ‘default’ tariff. You can come and go when you please without being penalised with exit charges but the drawback is that your energy bills may not be as low as they could be and they can go up or down as the amount you pay per kWh is variable.

I want an easy life where I don’t have to faff around with loads of bills

If life’s busy enough and you just don’t need extra hassle, look at a dual fuel tariff. This means getting your gas and electricity from the same supplier and you can have a fixed or a variable version of this tariff. You can get some good deals as suppliers want to entice you to buy your gas and electricity from them. However, it’s a good idea to comparethemarket first for separate gas and electricity deals – it may be convenient to have one supplier for both, but you could find an even better package if you bought your energy separately.

If you’re already on a dual fuel tariff and have found a better deal elsewhere check your contract about exit fees, it may be more prudent to wait until you come to the end of your current deal.

I want to save the world

If your conscience always gets the better of you and you’re concerned about the state of the environment, then a green tariff is for you. Being green can mean a few things depending on who your supplier is. Some energy providers will ensure that the energy you receive is from renewable sources; others will give back the amount of energy you use to the National Grid in renewable energy or alternatively; providers may invest in environmental projects on your behalf. Check the details with each green tariff.

Green tariffs won’t generally be the cheapest deals on the market but when you want to help save the world it’s a small price to pay.

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I’m a planner and a night owl

Some providers offer ‘time of use’ tariffs such as Economy 7 or 10. This means you’ll get either seven or ten hours of reduced cost energy – usually at night or in the early hours of the morning. The standing charges with this type of tariff are usually higher than other tariff standing charges. Whilst this method can give you real savings if you’re nocturnal, it’s not great if your lifestyle’s unpredictable.

Make the switch

Sometimes it’s hard to make the change but there could be a whole host of savings just waiting for you – did you know from January to April this year we saved our customers over £34 million in total energy costs? So why not start comparing and start saving?