With energy, suppliers don’t simply fall into cheap and expensive categories in the way other industries do. Most providers will offer a range of tariffs, all with differing rates and terms.
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Who are the cheapest energy suppliers?
Energy prices change constantly. This is due to both external factors, like global politics, to internal factors such as company profit margins. In addition, deals are designed to hook in new customers by offering them exclusively cheap tariffs. Therefore, where one person may snatch the bargain of the century from one supplier, another may look elsewhere for cheap energy. It depends on the deal of the day.
However, you can take a look at what the cheapest energy deals at the moment are here.
How to compare cheap energy deals
By far, the best way to compare energy deals is to run an energy comparison.
Where you live is the primary determiner of your energy prices, so start by putting your postcode into our search tool. This’ll allow us to find energy deals in your area.
Choose whether you want separate gas and electricity plans or a dual tariff. If you use both in your home, then we recommend getting a dual tariff as this is typically more cost effective.
Grab your recent bill, as this contains your annual consumption and other information that further allows us to tailor our results. The more detail you provide, the more accurate our search. You can also specify how you’d like to pay for your energy. We’ll then show you available deals.
If you don’t have this detail to hand or simply want to conduct a broad search, you can, but just be aware that results won’t be so personalised.
What energy tariff should I get?
It’s important that right from the off you choose a tariff that suits your needs. Consider whether you want a fixed-rate or variable-rate tariff. With fixed-rate deals, the price you pay per kwh of energy stays the same throughout your term. By contrast, with variable rate tariffs, what you pay fluctuates with the wholesale price of energy, meaning you could pay either above or below fixed-rate deals.
There are also time-of-use tariffs, such as those available on Economy 7 or 10 meters. These entitle you to discounted energy during certain off-peak hours, while during peak hours you’ll pay significantly more than average. If you’re a shift worker, this type of deal could benefit you.
How to get the best energy deal
Once you have run your energy comparison and decided on a tariff, watch out for the following and you’ll be sure to get a deal best suited for you.
1. Consider the contract term: exercise caution around long-term contracts. Even if a fixed-rate deal seems like a bargain, a lot can change in a few years and it’s good to keep things flexible.
2. Look out for exit fees: if you want to leave a fixed-term tariff before the end of the contract term, you may have to pay exit fees. Factor in what these are when you make your calculations.
3. Look out for extra incentives: when choosing an energy tariff, the major incentive is, of course, if there’s a tantalisingly cheap deal on offer. But suppliers sometimes offer other incentives to switch too, such as cashback or refer-a-friend schemes; these can reward you with sizeable savings.
4. Don’t ignore customer service ratings – if you have an issue, you’ll want swift support and to feel listened to. Let’s look a little more at this…
Do cheap energy suppliers offer a good service?
You might be thinking that a cheap energy deal comes at the price of poor service, but that’s by no means the case. In truth, it all depends on the company in question.
You may find that if a smaller supplier offers consistently cheap deals, they’re able to do so because they forgo investment into their customer service resources. Or, they could offer cheap deals because they’re a new company trying to build a good reputation, and as a result offer excellent customer service.
On the flipside, just because the biggest energy companies have established customer service teams, that doesn’t necessarily mean what they offer is of great value, even if their deals are cheap.
What we’re saying is that you’re best off doing some independent research into what other customers say, but certainly don’t start your energy comparison with the preconception that you’ll get bad service if you want to save money.
How else can I get cheaper energy?
Usually, paying for your energy consumption upon receipt of the bill will costs you more. Instead, pay by monthly direct debit, which is calculated by your annual estimation split into twelve. At the end of the year, any under- or overpayments are balanced accordingly.
You should also ensure you send your energy supplier regular meter readings too, as this will help you avoid being overcharged. One simple way to do this is to request your provider installs a smart meter, which will automatically send readings for you.
Last, check whether you qualify for any government schemes or subsidies, such as the winter fuel payment or a free boiler upgrade. Old boilers are notoriously inefficient, so upgrading yours will reduce your energy consumption and save you money.