Although fixed price plans have traditionally charged a relatively high premium, this year a range of fixed deals offer the best of both worlds: a competitive price for today, which can be locked in for more than three years.
These deals are particularly relevant as industry analysts recently predicted British Gas would raise prices by up to 10% between now and winter. Other suppliers are expected to follow suit.
Five of the big six suppliers have a fixed price deal as their overall most competitive tariff (see table below).
Best buy energy plans:
|Spark Energy||Advance 2*||£1,116|
|First Utility||iSave v16||£1,155**|
|Sainsbury’s energy||Online October 2014||£1,172|
|npower||Online Price Fix November 2014||£1,182|
|ScottishPower||Online Fixed Price Energy November 2014||£1,195|
|EDF Energy||Blue + Price Promise December 2014||£1,209|
|E.ON||E.ON Energy Discount (with online reward)||£1,209|
|Ovo Energy||New Energy Fixed||£1,226|
|British Gas||Fixed Price October 2014||£1,245|
|The Co-operative Energy||Pioneer||£1,258|
|SSE||1year Fixed Price Plan (with paperless billing)||£1,262|
Based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas with bill sizes averaged across all regions.
* This plan is an advance payment tariff (payment is taken prior to consumption).
**First Utility’s fixed price iSave Fixed v9 April 2015 is not included as, at £1,170 a year, it is not First Utility’s cheapest or ‘best buy’ tariff.
Market leading options
Independent supplier, First Utility’s iSave Fixed v9 April 2015 plan is currently the cheapest on the market. The tariff costs the average user £1,170 per year, just £54 more than the cheapest overall deal and allows consumers to lock in prices until April 2015. This means those switching to this plan would offset the small premium if energy prices increase by 4.8%.
npower’s Online Price Fix November 2014 is the cheapest fixed price plan currently being offered by one of the big six energy suppliers, and costs £1,182 a year. This premium would be offset by a price rise of 6%.
Those looking for a longer term plan should consider npower’s Price Protector March 2017, which is the longest deal available on the market. Priced at £1,341 a year for the average consumer, it ensures prices are frozen for three and a half years and carries no early exit fees.
‘Longest fixed price tariff will future-proof your bills for over three years’
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, says: “The dice are loaded in favour of price hikes this winter, which makes the protection offered by fixed price energy tariffs even more attractive. Importantly, these tariffs are currently very competitive, which means that consumers don’t have to pay more for the security they provide. This is competition at its best.
“While most consumers are cost-conscious and therefore probably tempted to take the cheapest fixed price deal they can find, I would urge them to think longer-term too. The longest fixed price tariff will future-proof your bills for over three years. This means freezing your energy costs for three winters, giving you security and certainty in very uncertain times.
“The market isn’t perfect, but the range of attractive fixed price deals around at the moment demonstrates what a truly healthy competitive market could deliver for consumers if given the chance. This is why Ofgem’s reforms are so important – they are an opportunity to finally give consumers the market they need and deserve.”