This guide was largely written before the current energy market challenges that have seen switching become almost obsolete for most customers. The information in it regarding switching will still be valid when switching returns.
Fixed price gas and electricity tariffs guarantee that the cost of your energy will not go up for a set amount of time. The most common fixed rate tariffs last for 12 months. If you shop around you might also be able to find two or even three year fixed energy deals, which give you peace of mind for even longer.
It is important to note that selecting a fixed price energy plan does not mean you will be paying the same amount for your energy bill each month. Your energy unit rates are frozen, so if you are on a fixed plan and you use more energy one month than another, the bills you will receive will differ accordingly. However, the rate you pay for each unit of energy will be frozen for the duration of the contract.
Fixed price energy deals offer the protection of fixed prices and competitive market rates. They often appeal to those looking for a medium or short term solution to avoiding energy price rises and offer great value.
On the other hand, fixed price energy can also be more expensive than the cheapest online energy tariffs, particularly if you are considering a long term deal. Fixed price plans also sometimes include an early exit fee, which you will have to pay if you decide to switch tariff before the end of your contract.
If you’re considering switching to a long term deal, i.e. one that fixes your unit rates for at least 18 months, selecting a fixed price gas and electricity tariff might be a gamble. If energy prices rise you stand to make some big savings, but if they don't, you could end up paying over the odds and faced with an early exit fee should you decide to switch.
The date your fixed price energy plan ends should certainly be one that's marked in your diary, for a whole host of reasons. Our video explains why.
When your fixed plan is about to end, the first thing to do is find out which plan your supplier will be moving you to. This may be your supplier's 'Standard' plan, although some suppliers may offer you the chance to fix your prices again.
Standard energy plans are among the most expensive in the market and there are usually cheaper plans available. If you're offered the chance to fix your prices again, you may wish to take it, if you are willing to pay above-average prices in return for security against potential price rises in the future.
Once you know what energy plan you're being moved to:
For an updated list of fixed price plans coming to an end in the coming weeks, visit our fixed rate plans guide and scroll to the bottom of the page.
It's up to you whether to choose fixed price energy or not. Fixed price energy tariffs are usually a fantastic option, offering security at the very least, and big savings when you switch at the right time.
However, the energy market has been a volatile one since about September 2021. Wholesale energy prices have massively increased, which has meant that suppliers have pulled almost all fixed deals - those that are available as of June 2022 are pretty much only offered to existing customers who are on standard variable tariffs. If you are eligible for one of these fixed deals, you may want to take it in order to be certain about the price you'll pay and protect yourself against future price cap rises, but there are some caveats to be aware of - check out our dos and don'ts of fixing your energy deal here.
If you use our online tool to find a fixed price tariff, it's possible it could cost more than your current variable plan. Many fixed price energy plans offer better value, and even the slightly more expensive options will save you money if energy prices rise in the near future.
Case study "Thanks to a friend’s suggestion I first used Uswitch to switch my energy provider last year. I was pleasantly surprised by how simple the process was. I loved that all I had to do was pick the deal I wanted and everything else would be taken care of. There was no disruption in service, and I was paying about £20 less every month on a fixed plan."
Charles, Uswitch customer
The simplest way to ensure your energy costs don’t go up, whether you choose fixed price energy or not, is to control your usage. Whether prices go up or down, if you can reduce your usage you will always be in control of your energy bills.
The simplest changes can be made around the home. Checking for draughts around windows and doors is simple, and installing draught proofing is cheap and easy to do. It will also save you a lot of money, with an estimated 30% of heat in the home lost through draughts. The most common culprits are around doors and windows, but you should also check floorboards, loft hatches and letterboxes.
Other simple changes include dropping the thermostat by just one degree and checking your timers are accurately set up, particularly after the clocks go forward or backward. We have a handy selection of energy saving guides here.
You could also consider purchasing a smart thermostat. These devices allow you to control your heating remotely and in some cases even adapt your home’s temperature to best suit your needs, without you having to lift a finger. The data a smart thermostat provides should also enable you to work out the most energy efficient way to heat your home as well as save money.
Another way to cut your usage is to generate your own energy. Solar panels or wind turbines allow you to generate your own energy which you can then use, reducing your overall energy consumption.
Do you wonder why there are so many different energy tariffs for domestic gas and electricity? In our guide to energy tariffs, we'll explain how and why energy suppliers offer different energy and pricing. You can then compare the different tariffs and decide what is the best type for you.Learn more