Rises in wholesale energy costs means suppliers are raising their prices. This has an impact on the number of deals available to you. With fewer deals on offer, what should you do?
Rising wholesale energy costs have impacted the number of deals Uswitch can offer you and you may not be able to save money on your energy. Our guide to the current energy market explains why.
There’s no one cheap energy supplier for everybody. To find the best energy deal for you it's important to run an energy comparison based on your own details.
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Your gas and electricity bills are largely dependent on usage, but there are other reasons your bills might have gone up recently:
1. Your fixed price plan ended
A fixed price energy plan protects against price rises. These plans do end though, and when they do you get automatically rolled on to a new plan with different rates. This is often a standard variable tariff or default tariff, the most expensive type of energy plan on offer.
2. Your energy supplier has raised prices
If you’re on a standard variable or default tariff, your energy supplier can raise their gas and electricity prices at any time.
3. Your bills are based on estimated meter readings
Check that your bill is based on actual readings of your gas and electricity meters rather than estimated ones. It’s important to take your own readings so that you get charged accurately. Or consider getting a smart meter, which provides real-time meter readings and can help you monitor your energy usage — you can request one from your supplier or switch to a smart meter tariff.
To find the cheapest gas and electricity deals you’ll need to shop around once your fixed plan has ended. After your plan’s end date you’ll likely be rolled onto a standard tariff, which is the most expensive type of plan.
If you’ve never switched or haven’t done so for a while, it’s likely you can find a cheaper energy deal in minutes with Uswitch. Simply enter a few details and search for a cheap energy deal.
You might not even need to switch away from your supplier to find a cheap energy tariff. Check to see if your current supplier has a cheap gas and electricity deal on offer — the cheapest energy supplier for you could be the one you’re already with.
If you’re on your supplier’s standard or default tariff, now’s the time to switch energy. If you’re on one of these plans it’s very likely that you can get a cheaper energy deal by switching to a fixed plan. If you’re already on a fixed deal, you might want to wait until you can switch without having to pay any exit fees. This is normally around 49 days before your contract comes to an end. To maximise your savings, it’s a good habit to switch every time your fixed plan is due to end. Not sure when your plan ends? Compare energy prices with us and we’ll let you know if you can switch without exit fees.
Ofgem’s Default Tariff Cap, better known as the energy price cap, sets a maximum rate that suppliers can charge for their standard variable or default tariffs. While this price cap currently stops suppliers charging more than £1,277 on average for standard variable tariffs, these are typically the most expensive type of tariffs and prices can rise when the cap is reviewed twice a year. When the price cap was previously changed in October 2020, the cheapest fixed tariff at that time was more than £200 cheaper than the price cap level. Find out more about the energy price cap in our guide.
The cheapest energy supplier for someone else isn’t necessarily the cheapest for you. That’s why we compare energy suppliers tailored to you to get the best energy deals.
Energy suppliers vary their pricing by region and your bill will also depend on your usage. Different energy suppliers also target different types of household, so some might offer their cheapest gas and electricity deal to a family home with high usage, while someone living alone with low usage might find a cheap energy deal with a different supplier.
The best gas and electricity supplier for you won’t necessarily be the cheapest. You can use Uswitch to filter by what’s important to you, whether that’s a large supplier or one that offers green energy plans.
We also know customer service is important, so we’ve assigned each supplier star ratings based on our energy customer satisfaction report to help you compare energy suppliers, from the well-known ‘big six’ to the smaller suppliers you might not be so familiar with.
We only work with trusted energy suppliers and run a yearly customer satisfaction report so you can see how each supplier performs in a wide range of categories from customer service to value for money, green services to smart meter installation. Click on ‘plan info’ in your energy comparison results and we’ll show you the supplier’s star rating based on real customer reviews. You can also learn more about each of the suppliers we work with here.
Green energy has become more accessible in recent years, and most suppliers now offer at least one renewable or green energy plan. We’ll highlight green plans in your energy comparison results, and you can even filter your results to show only green energy plans.
If you don’t want to switch energy supplier, you still might be able to find a cheap gas and electricity deal with Uswitch. If you haven’t switched energy before it’s likely that you’re on your provider’s standard variable or default tariff, which is typically the most expensive type of plan on offer. You can use Uswitch to switch to a cheaper energy deal from your current provider if you’re happy with the service but want to save on your energy bills.
Yes, you can switch energy if you’re on a prepayment meter. Just select ‘Prepayment meter’ when you’re asked how you pay your energy bills. You can tell you’re on a prepayment meter if you pay in advance with a smart card, token or key. You can also choose to switch away from using a prepayment meter by replacing it with a credit meter.
Yes, you can switch to a better energy deal if you’re a tenant. The only exception is if your landlord pays the energy bills or if energy charges are included in your rent. If your name is on your energy bill you have the right to switch energy supplier and save on your bills.
You’re not trapped with your current supplier, even if you’re in debit on your account. Many suppliers take payments based on estimated energy usage, so it’s common to owe your supplier money if you use a little more energy than expected. You should be able to switch energy with no problems if you’ve been in debt to your supplier for less than 28 days, or if you owe less than £500 on a prepayment meter. Otherwise you will need to repay what you owe before you switch to a new energy supplier. Read more in our guide.
There’s no need to get in touch with your old supplier once you’ve made your energy switch. Once they’ve received notification of your switch, the supplier should send a final bill and close your old account once you’ve paid any outstanding amount. While there’s no need to cancel your direct debit, you can do this through your bank if you want to be more confident you won’t still be charged – just remember to settle your final bill first.
If you’re moving home, you should inform your energy supplier at least 48 hours in advance so they can arrange to close your account or set you up at your new property. Your supplier will arrange to send your final bill to your new address. Remember to take a meter reading on your last day at the property to ensure your final bill is accurate.
Once you’ve moved into your new home, you should also take a meter reading and contact the supplier at the new property. They can transfer the account into your name, but remember that it might not be the best energy deal for you. Moving into a new property is a great time to shop around for a cheaper energy deal on a site like Uswitch. Find out more about switching energy and moving home in our guide.
A dual fuel tariff is an energy plan that offers both gas and electricity from the same energy supplier. This can sometimes work out to be the cheapest way to pay for your gas and electricity, and it means only having to deal with one energy supplier. You can find out more about dual fuel energy and start your dual fuel energy comparison here.
Not all households use both types of energy and many energy suppliers offer tariffs for just one type of fuel. You can also compare gas and electricity separately if you wish to choose different suppliers for each instead of using a dual fuel tariff.
In Great Britain, around four million households do not use mains gas for heating, according to Ofgem. Just over half of all non-gas households use electricity as their primary heating source.
If you don't require a gas tariff for your home, you can search for separate electricity-only tariffs. When you compare energy prices with Uswitch, we'll ask if you use gas in your home. If you answer no, we'll show you electricity-only tariffs that could save you money.
If you use both gas and electricity but want to compare tariffs from different suppliers, you can choose to see these separately by choosing 'show me electricity plans' on your results page.
While most households use electricity and will require both an electricity and gas plan, you can also choose to have separate suppliers or tariffs for each fuel.
There are a number of gas-only suppliers and many standard energy suppliers also offer separate gas-only tariffs.
If you'd like to compare gas tariffs with Uswitch, simply run an energy comparison and select 'show me gas only plans' on your results page. You'll be able to easily compare gas-only plans and dual-fuel tariffs to see which is the best energy deal for you.
We provide customer ratings for more than 15 energy suppliers. These ratings are based on responses from 17,000 energy customers in 2020 as part of Uswitch's independent YouGov survey.
British Gas is one of the big six energy suppliers and the largest UK energy company, offering gas and electricity, boilers and boiler cover as well as other home services.
E.ON is one of the UK's big six energy suppliers and offers a wide range of fixed energy plans. All of the supplier's tariffs offer 100% renewable electricity as standard.
EDF Energy is Britain's biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, which is also included in each tariff as standard. EDF Energy is also one of the big six energy suppliers.
ScottishPower is a big six energy supplier, providing gas and 100% renewable wind-powered electricity to millions of domestic customers in the UK.
SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy) is one of the big six energy suppliers, providing gas and electricity to millions of homes across the UK.
Formerly known as First Utility, Shell Energy is one of the UK's largest independent energy suppliers and offers 100% renewable electricity at no extra cost.
Octopus Energy is focussed on providing long-term renewable energy for the UK. Octopus earned Supplier of the Year in Uswitch's 2018 and 2020 energy awards.
OVO Energy is one of the UK's largest independent energy suppliers, offering 100% renewable electricity as standard. OVO was Uswitch's Supplier of the Year in 2019.
Launched in 2015, Avro Energy aims to provide some of the lowest UK gas and electricity prices in the simplest way possible, with no unnecessary complexity or confusing jargon.
A dedicated supplier for prepayment meter customers, Boost is a smart pay as you go offering that allows you to top up anywhere, anytime.
Since 2015, Bulb has aimed to make energy simpler, cheaper and greener with 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon neutral gas.
ESB Energy is an Irish energy company that's been in Britain since 1993. The supplier's current focus is on generating 100% green electricity across wind farms and biomass.
M&S Energy brings you gas and electricity plans from the well-known supermarket, promising greener energy and simple tariffs that save you money.
PurePlanet is an online-only energy supplier, bringing renewable energy to customers across the UK. All tariffs are backed with 100% renewable electricity and carbon offset gas.
So Energy is a small energy supplier offering 100% renewable electricity on all its tariffs - and So Energy customers get the chance to choose where their energy comes from.
To view all 2020 customer ratings, visit our dedicated energy customer service page.
Uswitch 2020 customer ratings are based on an independent YouGov survey that was conducted between 23 October and 17 November 2020. A total of 17,000 UK energy customers were asked to rate their energy supplier on overall satisfaction, transfer process, value for money, customer service and how likely they were to recommend. We equally weighted those five scores across suppliers with at least 150 responses to create an average supplier rating for each.
* This supplier had fewer than 150 responses in our independent YouGov survey, which is not enough data with which to provide a customer service rating.
Think you might be paying too much for your gas and electricity? You’re not alone. Millions of households are struggling with their energy costs. The good news is, Uswitch can help you compare energy suppliers to find a better deal on your gas and electricity bills.
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