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Standard Variable Tariffs

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

Last updated: 21 May 2020

Standard Variable Tariffs
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-term tariffs. It’s 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.
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 my energy plan?

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.

Switching Energy Deals

If you are on a standard variable energy tariff, then you may wish to switch energy deal so that you can save money. Many homes will never have switched energy suppliers, as it can be confusing and takes time. If you have never switched your gas or electricity supplier, or not switched in the last couple of years, you'll almost certainly save money by moving to a different deal. The switching process is actually straightforward and could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Almost anyone can switch energy suppliers, even those with a prepayment meter with debts of up to £500. You should therefore consider switching energy suppliers, even if you are happy with your current deal, there could still be savings out there for you! 
Her at usave, we can help you find the best fixed-term energy deals and make switching energy suppliers easier for you at no extra cost. 
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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