One of the quickest and best ways to cut the cost of unavoidable household bills is to ditch old providers that have had you on uncompetitive deals and switch to new ones.
This applies to the cost of services that most people think of as vital, such as home insurance and broadband, and, perhaps in particular, to energy suppliers.
Energy bills have increased hugely over the last 5 years, rocketing from an average of £800 on a standard energy tariff to just over £1,300.
The market is now more competitive, benefitting consumers
Fortunately, the UK energy market has recently become much more competitive, with the ‘big six’ finding they’re now dealing with nimble, highly cost-efficient smaller competitors such as Extra Energy and First Utility.
And new rules mean that ditching an old supplier and switching to a new improved tariff has never been easier, and doing so could shave hundreds of pounds each year from the average annual energy bill of British households.
You can even satisfy your morals if you want to go with a supplier which only provides energy from green energy sources.
Main providers become more competitive too
While many of the tariffs offered by the main energy companies such as nPower and EDF Energy have had to improve in relation to the competition, there are still millions of householders on old tariffs that are vastly out of date and costly. And it’s these people who would benefit the most from switching.
Below are the best current deals, as provided by online comparison site uSwitch, but first a number of things to bear in mind when you’re considering switching.
Tips if you’re thinking of switching:
1. Consider online only bills – Choose not to have bills sent in the post as many suppliers will give an additional discount if you do so.
2. Pay by monthly direct debit – Again, extra discounts are nearly always offered to those that pay by direct debit as opposed to one off payments or by post.
3. Don’t choose a pre-payment meter – It’s generally more expensive (sometimes a lot more) than a billed meter system.
4. Send regular meter readings – If you don’t, you may be paying more than you should as the energy provider will use its own estimates. And if the difference isn’t in your favour, it will only catch up with you eventually.
5. Dual fuel is usually better – Getting both your gas and electricity from the same supplier is mainly cheaper, but not always however.
Best current deals (figures from uSwitch)
The name of the supplier is followed by the energy plan and cost per year based on average household usage:
1. Extra Energy – Fresh fixed price November 2015 v2, £984
2. First Utility – iSave Fixed November 2015 (v33), £992
3. OVO Energy – Better Energy Fixed (Online), £998
4. Green Star energy – Rate Saver 12M Fixed 1410 (paperless), £1,004
5. Sainsbury’s Energy – Fixed Price October 2015, £1,009
6. The Cooperative Energy – Fair & Square October 2015, £1,026
7. SSE – SSE Direct fixed, £1,029
8. EDF Energy – Blue + Price Promise March 2016, £1,039
9. Scottish Power – Online Fixed Price Energy November 2015, £1,045
10. nPower – Online Price Fix May 2016, £1,056
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