In some cases dual fuel tariffs represent the cheapest way to get your gas and electricity, but how do they work and what benefits are there?
If you've spoken to your energy supplier recently, or have looked at switching your gas and electricity, there's a good chance that you've come across the phrase 'dual fuel'.
Dual fuel simply means that you receive your gas and your electricity from the same energy supplier, rather than, as is more commonly the case, from two separate suppliers.
If you receive an electricity bill from one energy supplier and a gas bill from a different one, then you are not on a dual fuel contract.
What are the benefits of picking a dual fuel contract?
Dual fuel tariffs are traditionally quite popular, and for good reason. By getting all your energy from the same companies you make things easier, and possibly cheaper, for both your energy company and yourself.
There are a number of benefits to taking out a dual fuel contract with an energy supplier.
- Dual fuel deals can mean cheaper fuel prices. Some energy suppliers will offer you a dual fuel discount if you sign up to a dual fuel tariff with them. This will usually manifest itself as a monthly or annual discount straight off your energy bills.
- It's more convenient for you. You will only receive bills from one company, and some suppliers even offer a combined bill for simplicity.
- There's only one point of contact. If you have any complaints, queries or need help from your energy supplier, you only have one supplier to deal with.
Is it easy to switch to dual fuel?
Yes. The first thing to do is run a dual fuel comparison of energy suppliers in your area, to see how much you could be saving by switching to dual fuel. Just pop your postcode in the green box to get started.
You don't have to switch to one of your current suppliers if you don't want to, you can switch either one or both or your fuels away if it's more cost effective.
Running a dual fuel comparison is no different to a normal comparison. Just have a recent energy bill to hand, plug in your details, and we'll tell you what the best deals are for you, including if we think a dual-fuel deal will offer good value.
Running a dual fuel comparison is really straightforward.
Once you've run a dual fuel comparison and found the right dual fuel deal for you, simply apply to switch to the new supplier and the switch-over will be taken care of for you.
There's no complicated paperwork and the process is very simple - you won't even notice the switch has been made until cheaper bills start arriving.
All you have to do is enter your energy consumption details, choose who you want to switch to and, if you're paying by Direct Debit which we recommend, your payment details. We handle the switch for you so you can sit back until your new dual fuel supplier gets in touch.
Is dual fuel always cheaper?
The dual fuel discounts associated with this type of contract can mean your energy will be cheaper, so paired with the convenience of only having one energy supplier it can be a great advantage.
However, dual fuel deals are not always cheaper, so the best way to check your options is to run a dual fuel comparison of energy suppliers in your area. In fact, in 2014 research suggested that more and more homes could save money by taking on two single fuel deals, so it's always worth running an energy comparison before making a decision.
Why is dual fuel different?
It's not. As far as your household is concerned there is very little difference between having dual fuel or single fuel contracts. Exactly the same gas and electricity is provided in either case. However, should you decide to carry out a dual fuel comparison you may end up saving your household some money by paying lower fuel prices.
How else can I ensure cheaper bills?
While switching to a dual fuel can be a good move for those of us using separate suppliers it's by no means the only way to save money on your energy bills.
Your first port of call should always be to run a regular comparison of your current energy plans to make sure you're getting the best deal. We recommend doing this a few times a year, particularly around price rises or if you're on a fixed plan that is coming to an end. While you may save by switching to a dual fuel plan, there are a whole range of other plan types that could save you money.
Online only or 'paperless' plans for instance are a great way to save. If you currently receive your energy bills through the mail switching to online account management will almost certainly save you money.
What's more, being online will help you save money in other ways too. Most energy suppliers now accept online meter readings, making it easier to ensure your bills are accurate rather than estimated.
Online account management is cheaper for energy companies to manage as they don't have to send out regular statement or maintain as many call centres.
Save money by saving energy
The best way to reduce your energy bills over the long-term though is to reduce your consumption. While a lower rate per kWh may save you some money in the short-term, using less energy overall will save you far more over a longer period of time.
While simple tricks, like ensuring all your lightbulbs are energy-savers, turning the thermostat down one degree, and replacing white goods with energy-efficient models, will all save you some money, the real key lies in making your home more energy efficient.