Finding the right gas and electricity deal could save you hundreds of pounds a year on your energy bills. Here is what you need to know about choosing the right energy tariff.
Can you switch tariffs?
Yes, you can ask your supplier to move you to a cheaper tariff if you think you could save on your energy bills. You could also save hundreds of pounds by switching to a different supplier.
Which tariff should you get?
When choosing an energy deal, you should think about:
*The price of energy
*How flexible you need your contract to be
*Combining your gas and electricity services
*Green or renewable energy sources
Energy providers offer different types of tariffs. Think about how much you want to pay and how flexible you need your contract to be. You can choose from the following types of deal:
This is often the cheapest energy tariff, because the price is fixed at the start of your contract until a specified end date. There are two different types of fixed energy deal:
Prices are fixed for the length of the contract
Prices are fixed at different rates, at different stages of the contract
Your bills could still increase based on how much gas or electricity you use, but the set rate remains the same for the duration of your contract. This also means that if energy prices fall, your rate will not be reduced.
This is the default option offered by most energy companies and is also called a standard tariff because the price you pay for your energy is not fixed.
A variable tariff is a good option if you want flexibility because you are free to switch without charge whenever you want.
However, variable tariffs are often more expensive and the price could change at any time.
Most suppliers offer the option for you to combine your gas and electricity services in one dual fuel package, which could save you money on your energy bills.
You pay one bill for both your gas and electricity, and you also get a discount from your energy supplier for using them for both services.
How should you pay?
How you pay for your gas and electricity also affects how much your energy costs. Unless you choose a prepayment meter, there are several ways to pay:
Monthly direct debit: This is often the cheapest way to pay for your energy, as suppliers tend to offer a discount for direct debits. Your payments will be based on your annual usage, so you should check your bills to avoid underpaying or overpaying.
Quarterly: You can pay your energy bills by BACS transfer, cheque, or quarterly direct debit. This means that you need to pay off a higher lump sum each time you get your bill, so make sure you have enough money to cover the cost.
Payment card: This lets you make regular payments for your gas and electricity with a debit or credit card. You can pay weekly, fortnightly, or monthly by going to a PayPoint shop or local Post Office.
Choose the payment option that is easiest for you to manage and most affordable.