There are only two super-cheap energy fixes left without exit fees, while gas and electricity price rises are also expected – so now is the ideal time to lock into a cheap deal.
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis is here to tell us more.
What’s happening with prices?
Big energy price rises are coming: Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) has announced hikes of 9% on average, with the rest of the big six likely to follow (bar Eon, which has pledged not to raise prices until the end of the year). Plus millions are overpaying for energy.
A typical home on a standard tariff pays £1,310 according to energy watchdog Ofgem, yet switch to a cheap tariff and it can drop to £1,040 for the SAME gas, SAME electricity and SAME safety. Only customer service and price change.
Taking out a fixed tariff is like insurance against rate hikes. Normally it costs more, but right now some fixes are among the market's cheapest tariffs with NO exit fees, so if things change you can jump ship penalty-free. However, in the past when prices were rising, cheap fixes were pulled quickly, so don’t delay.
What are the top deals?
These are changing regularly, for latest updates see Martin’s full cheap gas & electricity plus cashback guide.
Fix prices cheaply for TWO winters. Already pulled from comparisons sites and only available direct, which means it’s likely to go any day, EDF's Blue tariff is almost the market's cheapest at £1,058 for the average dual fuel user. But it has three killer features it's important not to miss when using comparisons:
- 1. It's fixed until 30 April 2014, so no price hikes for a long time.
- 2. Unusually, it has no exit penalties, so if things change, you can leave.
- 3. It promises to email if anyone launches a tariff £52/year cheaper.
- The other cheap fix without exit penalties is Scottish Power's 31 Dec '13 fix. It's slightly cheaper for most people than EDF at £1,052 for a typical dual fuel household, but the fix is a bit shorter. EDF also tends to be pricier in London and the South East so this is a strong contender for some. The cheapest tariff on the market currently is from First Utility, which is fixed until December 2013 costing the average dual fuel household £1,040. However, if things change and you want to leave, it has £30 gas and £30 electricity exit penalties.
How do I find the cheapest tariff?
Your exact winner depends on your current tariff, region and usage. So use a Consumer Focus-accredited comparison site to find out what comes top for you. Just plug in your details (for fixes click the 'show only fixed tariffs' tabs). As EDF's been taken out of the comparisons you'll need to get a quote direct and compare it to the comparison results. It’s also worth taking into consideration whether any comparison sites offer you additional cashback as well.
Cavity wall and loft insulation can slice about £300 off energy bills each year, while energy firms are offering serious freebies as part of energy efficiency obligations. Here are some of the current top deals:
- Until 29 September anyone whose home is suitable can get free cavity wall and loft insulation (up to the value of £610), plus a £30 M&S voucher from M&S Energy. Just call 0800 0106 106, or email email@example.com to sign up, or to find out more. You’ll also need to quote the code M&S30.
- Insulation for anyone, regardless of supplier: Everyone (as long as their home is suitable) can currently get free cavity wall and loft insulation from British Gas , Tesco Home Efficiency, EDF, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy.
- Additional insulation incentives: Anyone on certain benefits (as long as their home is suitable) can also currently get an extra £100 in cash for each type of insulation installed by EDF or by Tesco Home Efficiency, while anyone on certain benefits can also get £100 in high street vouchers for each type of installation installed by Scottish Power. You can also get £100 in cash from Eon if you have either, or both types of insulation installed. British Gas also has a scheme currently on where it’ll give £50 cash to anyone that refers an elderly or vulnerable person on qualifying benefits to get free insulation. Plus the household installing the insulation also gets £50.