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Standard Variable Tariffs (SVT) explained

Find out about standard variable tariffs and how to switch to a cheaper energy deal if you're on one.

Last updated: 09 April 2021

Standard Variable Tariffs (SVT) explained
It can be confusing trying to work out what energy plan you have to pay for your electricity and gas. Our helpful guide will explain what Standard Variable Tariffs are and help you work out what energy plan you are on.

What are standard variable tariffs?

A standard variable tariff is a basic energy tariff with variable prices that will change with the energy market. Variable tariffs are usually more expensive than fixed price energy tariffs, but not always. It’s usually the default tariff that you will be put on if you have not chosen an energy deal or if your current fixed-term tariff contract comes to an end, although some suppliers such as Bulb Energy only offer a Standard Variable Tariff.

If you are on a standard variable energy tariff then your unit rate costs can go up or down at any time, though it’s more likely they will go up. If you are on a variable tariff it is worth considering switching energy providers or asking your energy supplier whether you can get a cheaper fixed-term deal.

Advantages of a Standard Variable Energy Tariff

  • Variable tariffs provide you with greater flexibility so that you can pay how you wish and leave whenever you want without any exit fees.
  • Providers are required to give you 30 days notice of any price rise, giving you plenty of time to switch energy supplier or change your energy deal.
  • There is a possibility of a price drop in energy unit rates that you will benefit from, however this is unlikely.

Disadvantages of a Standard Variable Energy Tariff

  • Standard variable tariffs are generally the most expensive energy plan you can be on so you may end up paying far more in the long run.
  • You will not be protected from price rises. Fixed-term tariffs are protected.
  • It’s hard to predict what your monthly energy budget will be due to changing prices.

How do I check if I am on a Standard Variable Tariff?

Just moved in? Can’t remember your plan? Don’t panic! It’s easy to find out what your energy plan is. 

If there is no evidence in your house of your supplier, then there are ways you can check online to find out. You can find out both your supplier and your energy tariff with an easy online search. For electricity you can use the Energy Network Association’s postcode search tool and for gas you can use the Meter Point Administration’s ‘Find my Supplier’.

You will want to work out whether you are on a fixed or variable energy tariff. If you are on a standard variable tariff, then you can switch provider at any time without incurring any penalty costs. Fixed-term energy tariffs often include exit fees so make sure you check before trying to switch provider.

If you are ready to move to a different tariff, enter your postcode in below to compare energy.

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Harry Pererra

Author: Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in web design and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and broadband. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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