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The big six strike back

With temperatures dropping across the UK, the big six have begun offering more competitive energy plans, in a bid to compete with small suppliers

boxing gloves

The big six have fought their way back into the best buy table

The big six energy suppliers – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower and SSE – have shown signs of life, with five of their plans now appearing in the top ten energy best buy table.

This new development means the big six are finally trying to compete with the smaller energy suppliers, which have been offering the majority of the cheapest energy plans since last winter’s price rises.

Despite the newfound competitiveness of some of the big six, small suppliers continue to offer the cheapest tariffs, with Extra Energy, First Utility and Ovo Energy still sitting at the top of the table.

Interesting tariffs on offer from the big six

As mentioned above, small suppliers continue to top the best buy table, however, there are some interesting offers from the big six. Particularly in relation to long-term fixed price contracts and bundles.

EDF Energy, for example, has a tariff which lets households fix their bills until May 2018 – longer than any other plan on the market. Guaranteed peace of mind for anyone who wants to avoid future price hikes and is unlikely to keep an eye on the market for the best deals.

Another interesting plan is npower’s Intelligent Control tariff which comes bundled with Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat. The latter costs an average of £1,169 per year, including the Nest which has a retail price of £249. So if you’re after a smart thermostat this is certainly one of the cheapest ways to get one.

Other plans on offer from the big six include Sainsbury’s Energy*’s Fixed Price October 2015, costing an average of £1,099 until October 201 and SSE’s SSE Direct tariff, which was recently reduced from £1,115 to £1,029.

Energy best buy table

Energy best buy table (as of Thursday, 16th October, 2014)

Place

Supplier

Plan name

Average bill size

Tariff type

1

Extra Energy

Fresh Fixed Price Nov 2015 v2

£984

Fixed

2

First Utility

iSave Fixed November 2015 (v33)

£992

Fixed

3

OVO Energy

Better Energy Fixed (Online)

£998

Fixed

4

Green Star energy

Rate Saver 12M Fixed 1410 (paperless)

£1,004

Fixed

5

Sainsbury’s Energy

Fixed Price October 2015

£1,009

Fixed

6

The Cooperative Energy

Fair & Square October 2015

£1,026

Fixed

7

SSE

SSE Direct

£1,029

Fixed

8

EDF Energy

Blue+Price Promise March 2016

£1,039

Fixed

9

ScottishPower

Online Fixed Price Energy November 2015

£1,045

Fixed

 

 

10

npower

Online Price Fix May 2016

£1,056

Fixed

Source: uSwitch.com. Based on a medium usage customer using 3,200 kWh of electricity and 13,500 kWh of gas paying by direct debit with bill sizes averaged across all regions.

‘Great news that the big six are fighting back with better tariffs’

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch, said: “Small suppliers have been leading the charge with the cheapest deals, so it’s great news for consumers that the big six are fighting back with better tariffs. These include ‘SSE Direct’, npower’s ‘Intelligent Control’ plan – which comes with a free intelligent Nest thermostat – and the longest term fixed plan on the market from EDF.

“Suppliers need to prove themselves both on price and service if they want to win customers so no company – big or small – can afford to rest on its laurels. Consumers are voting with their feet and are easily attracted by cheaper prices and the promise that their bills will be protected from future price rises.

“With winter approaching, consumers need to get themselves into gear and secure a better deal before the cold weather starts to bite. There is currently a £304 difference between the cheapest and the most expensive tariff on the market, so it is well worth the minutes it takes to shop around and see what the market has to offer.”

*Sainsbury’s Energy is powered by British Gas

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