Find out what makes an energy plan ‘standard’, whether you’re on a standard energy plan and what to do about it if so
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What’s makes an energy plan standard?
A standard energy plan (or standard variable rate tariff) refers to an energy supplier’s basic, variable rate plan. Sometimes the plan name itself will have the word "standard" in it, but often it will not.
This plan is usually the most expensive tariff the supplier offers.
A supplier’s standard plan is what any new customer that does not request a specific plan will be placed on — their default tariff. For example, if you move house, you inherit the supplier of the previous tenant, and will automatically be placed on their standard plan when the supplier takes you on.
This plan will be "variable rate" which means your unit rate costs can go up or down.
This plan will not have an exit fee - which means you are free to switch away without penalty at any time.
Sometimes these plans are referred to as "evergreen" tariffs.
Pros and cons of standard variable rate plans
In most cases, there is no "pro" to being on your supplier's "standard" plan, as it's likely the most expensive they offer; however, there are arguably a couple pros to being on a variable rate plan.
- No exit fees. You’re free to switch to a better plan at any time
- Sometimes - though not often - variable rate plans can be very cheap. However, because prices are subject to change, you must be diligent to ensure those rates stay cheap
- You’ll pay more — as mentioned, standard variable rate tariff plans are very often the most expensive plan you can be on
- You’re not protected from price rises. Standard variable rate plans are the ones affected when suppliers announce price rises
How can I check if I’m on a standard plan?
If you have never switched energy supplier, you are likely on your supplier’s standard (and likely the most expensive) energy plan.
Or, if you had a fixed plan that has expired and you did not elect to switch to a new plan, then you will have been rolled on to your supplier’s standard variable rate plan.
To check if your plan is standard, check the table below for a list of the big six's standard plan names:
Big six's standard plans:
|E.ON Energy Plan||£1208||Compare now|
|Online Standard||£1210||Compare now|
|Standard (Variable)||£1227||Compare now|
|Standard SC||£1230||Compare now|
Prices are based on average bill sizes for a medium energy user on a dual fuel plan paying by monthly direct debit, and averaged across all regions. This table is updated hourly from uSwitch's database of all standard plans from the big six: British Gas, E.ON, SSE, ScottishPower, npower and EDF Energy.
Compare those prices to ...
We've stated a few times that standard plans will be the most expensive energy tariffs out there. You can see the difference for yourself when you compare the standard plans from the big six to some of the cheapest deals on the wider market:
|Supplier||Plan name||Tariff type||Price|
|+IMPACT Fixed to May 2019||Fixed until 30 May 2019||£805||Compare now|
|Zapp! July Tariff (low consumption)||Fixed||£834||Compare now|
|Welcome home||Fixed||£853||Compare now|
|100% Green||Fixed||£871||Compare now|
|Simple Energy||Fixed||£921||Compare now|
|IGLOO PIONEER||Fixed||£930||Compare now|
|Secure July 1 Year Fixed 2018||Fixed for 12 months||£937||Compare now|
|Green Puffin - Fixed||Fixed for 12 months||£939||Compare now|
|Breeze July 18 Fixed||Fixed for 12 months||£943||Compare now|
Prices are based on average bill sizes for a medium energy user on a dual fuel plan paying by monthly direct debit, and averaged across all regions. This table is updated hourly from uSwitch's database of all plans on the open market that are available in at least 7 of the 14 regions, with duplicate supplier plans removed.
How can I change from a standard energy plan?
Switching energy is easier because you can be assured you will not pay an early exit fee. To switch away from a standard energy plan, run an energy plan comparison to see all available plans for you.