The supplier’s new Price Freeeeze March 2017 tariff is the joint longest plan available, will cost the average user* £1,340 a year and fix prices for the next 46 months. It will be competing directly with npower’s Price Protector March 2017, which fixes prices for the same length of time and costs £1,341.
Neither plan carries an early exit fee, meaning customers are free to cancel and switch plan should their circumstances change.
EDF are also launching the Blue + Price Promise March 2015 plan, which will set back the average user by £1,183 per year. This deal is also in direct competition with an npower tariff; the Online Price Fix November 2014, which costs £1 less but is four months shorter. Neither plan carries a cancellation fee.
Fixed price plans gaining in popularity
The array of fixed price options on the market, as well as a fear of imminent price rises, has seen the percentage of people switching to fixed price plans, via uSwitch, rocket to 77%, from just over a quarter in January this year.
At present, fixed price plans compare favourably with standard tariffs and represent a compelling option for those who have never switched. Customers who have changed supplier in the past, will need to weigh up the pros and cons of paying slightly more today to save tomorrow, when energy prices are increased.
At present the least expensive variable deal costs the average consumer £1,116 a year and the cheapest fixed price deal just £55 more. This premium would be offset by a price rise of 5%.
‘Customers like the option of a fixed-price product’
Speaking on the launch, Martin Lawrence, managing director at EDF Energy, said: “The popularity of our previous Blue tariffs has shown us that customers like the option of a fixed-price product. This enables them to budget more accurately as many consumers are worried about the increasing cost of energy.
“Blue+Price Freeeeze March 2017 is the joint-longest fix on the market and it gives customers peace of mind for the next 46 months. Blue+Price Promise March 2015 offers great value as a short-term option and also comes with no exit fees.”
‘Suppliers are doing battle royal’
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: “While rumours of price hikes are never welcome, consumers can take some small comfort from the fact that suppliers are battling it out to offer the most competitive fixed price deals. Many of these are also ‘best buys’, which means that consumers can enjoy the best of both worlds – a cheap price today, plus protection against price hikes tomorrow.
“The fact that suppliers are doing battle royal in this part of the market is good news for competition too. It is forcing suppliers to compete hard on the price of these tariffs and to offer increasingly attractive terms, such as no early exit fees. This is good news for consumers and serves to demonstrate what competition could deliver if the barriers were raised.”
*Based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas, paying by direct debit and with bill sizes averaged across all regions.