Energy tariffs with fixed or discounted prices for a set time are great; but when they end, take quick action or risk overpaying
When your tariff end date comes around, it's important that you take action or you could end up being rolled on to a much more expensive gas and electricity plan.
Compare the entire energy market now to see which new plan is best for you.
Plans ending soon
Energy tariffs come in all shapes and sizes, but fixed price plans have become increasingly popular, offering a guarantee on prices and peace of mind. ... That is, until the tariff end date!
Upon your tariff's end, your supplier will roll you onto a more expensive tariff, often their 'standard' tariff with the highest rates. That means higher bills — unless you take action.
Some very popular fixed price plans will ending in the next few months — they are outlined in the table below.
M&S Energy plans ending
npower plans ending
EDF plans ending
British Gas plans ending
ScottishPower plans ending
First Utility plans ending
My energy tariff is ending. When should I switch?
In accordance with new Ofgem regulations, suppliers must send you notice about your plan's upcoming end date 42 - 49 days before the end of your plan so that you have time to make a decision about switching — regardless if the plan carries exit fees (cancellation fees).
While this seems like plenty of time, you don't want to leave it to the last minute — if you decide to switch suppliers, switch times can take 4-6 weeks.
This letter should explain your options, including plans available from them, but be sure to check their best tariff against the rest of the market.
As soon as you receive this letter, you should run an energy comparison to find the best deal on the market, because upon receipt of the letter, any exit fee is waived and you are free to switch.
And you should try to switch ASAP, because switch times can take 4 - 6 weeks on average to process. You don't want to be rolled onto the more expensive plan and overpaying on energy while waiting for your switch to go through!
Please note that while this letter will contain information that your supplier is obligated to tell you about cheaper plan available to you, this list will only include plans from them — not the entire energy market.
If this sounds too complicated, don't worry. You don't have to wait for this letter to arrive before you start shopping around for better energy plans. If an exit fee applies to your current plan, uSwitch will be able to tell you if you are in the safe window to switch, or if you should wait another few weeks to switch to avoid a fee — we can even send a reminder of this 'safe to switch' date!
Read the Transcript
The [energy supplier's] offer is not as good as it was when we first started with them. I went online to uSwitch.com, obviously entered all my details as to who my current provider was for gas and electric, and basically uSwitch did all the work, just click the button and up come the prices that says we saved 450-pound a year.
Actually it was really quick wasn't it because I was sort of pottering around at the time with the kids and everything, took about five minutes, and he kept interrupting me to and tell me what the answer was.
You know, this was easy because you could see all the companies in one and you could see exactly what was happening. I felt confidence in uSwitch and because I had read testimonials on the site and what others users had said about them and as much as anything it was the fact that they knew exactly what I was paying for my electric, they showed me my exact price plan, and then showed me a comparative.
The whole process was very simple, they had a nice section on the Frequently Asked Questions. tI watched him use the uSwitch website and it was just very straightforward, click click click done in a matter of minutes.
As the lady needs help to login to her Facebook I the fact she can easily use uSwitch is quite a testament to the site really. uSwitch, uSave definitely. I think uSwitch was great, dead easy, that was the best of it, dead easy to use, the quotes were up on the screen in minutes and it is about well three clicks of the mouse to switch electricity company.
I've compared energy plans there's nothing cheaper - what should I do?
If your current tariff was very competitive at the time you signed up, you may find that there's nothing that's cheaper on the market at the moment.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't switch: your tariff is ending so you have to switch to a new one. Rather than looking for a big saving, look for a tariff that offers the lowest possible price.
What type of energy tariff should I switch to?
Finding a cheaper energy plan depends on a whole host of factors, ranging from where you live and what plan you are on, to the type of energy available in your property and your usage levels.
You should always consider looking at dual-fuel energy plans where both your gas and electricity come from the same supplier. This not only makes the billing process easier, but you will often get a better deal as suppliers are guaranteed more of your business.
If you're considering switching your gas and electricity, the cheapest plans are typically online tariffs available from various suppliers. The advantages of these plans include:
- cheaper rates due to lower administration costs for the suppliers,
- extra discounts,
- accounts can be easily managed online, although some do still offer paper billing if you prefer,
- meter readings can be submitted online for more accurate billing.
Besides online tariffs, you should also look out for further fixed tariff plans. The energy market is constantly changing, but if you feel there is a good chance energy prices will go up in future you can hedge your bets with another fixed plan.
While fixed energy plans are often more expensive than the cheapest variable plans you should consider how much energy prices could go up by in a years time. If the extra cost of a fixed price plan is less than future increases you will still be better off, and youll have the peace of mind offered by a fixed price plan as well as fixed outgoings.
Comparing from a fixed price plan & energy personal projection
You may notice a new section on your energy bills called your Personal Projection. In a nutshell, this is your estimated future energy costs for the next 12 months.
When you are on a fixed plan with a looming end date, your personal projection will change because your projection is a blend of the remaining days on your current fixed plan, and includes the days you will be on your supplier's pre-set rollover plan (the plan you will be automatically rolled on to if you do nothing).
This is just something to keep in mind if you run multiple comparisons on different days — your personal projection figure will change and you should not worry that this means your results are inaccurate.
What else can you do to keep costs down?
Ensuring youre on the cheapest energy plan, or on a good value fixed term plan, is the only way you can get the most value for every kWh you use, but there are other ways to keep costs down.
While a cheaper plan will save you money, so will using less energy in the first place. Simple changes around the home like dropping your thermostat by just one degree or draught proofing your doors and windows can make a significant difference, but larger investments can also pay off.
Insulation is the first step to keeping your energy costs down. Loft insulation is the easiest and cheapest to install, and even if you have loft insulation you should check whether you have the right levels installed, but more costly wall and floor insulation can also be worth considering.