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energy bills

Top five cheapest energy deals for August 2017

If you’re a British Gas customer facing its latest price rise, switching to August’s cheapest deal could save you ?286. We’ve also uncovered a pricey deal with one of the biggest energy firms – if you’re on this tariff, switching to one of this month’s cheapest gas and electricity deals could save you up to ?353 in a year. The small energy firms are offering the cheapest deals again this month.

Iresa is offering the cheapest gas and electricity deal, and both its fixed and standard variable tariffs are currently the same price for a year. But standard variable tariffs are not usually the same price as firms’ fixed deals. They’re often a supplier’s priciest deal and the one you’ll automatically be transferred to if you take no action with your energy bills.

British Gas increased the price of its standard deal[1] earlier this week. So dual-fuel British Gas customers will see a ?76 increase in their bills, on average, over the next year. Read on to see the cheapest energy deals available this month and how much money you could save.

Compare gas and electricity prices to find the best deal for you using our independent gas and electricity comparison website Which?

Switch[2]. Or you can phone Which? Switch on 0800 410 1149 or 01259 220235.

Save up to ?353 on your energy bill

The cheapest gas and electricity deal (from Iresa[3]) costs ?834 on average for a medium user per year.

Switch to it from Npower’s[4] standard tariff and you could save ?353 in a year. Even if you switch from British Gas’s[5] standard tariff (still the cheapest of the Big Six, for a medium user, even after its price rise), you’d still save ?286 per year. Standard tariffs have no exit fee or end date, so you can switch whenever you like.

Four of this month’s cheapest deals also come without an exit fee, leaving you free to switch energy firm again before the end of the deal if you spot a cheaper one.

Five cheap gas and electricity deals for August

We’ve calculated the five cheapest energy deals if you live in England, Scotland or Wales. The list below shows how much each tariff would save you per year, compared with British Gas or Npower’s standard tariff. We’ve chosen these because they’re the cheapest and priciest standard tariffs from the Big Six energy companies at the moment.

British Gas announced earlier this week that it will increase the price of its dual-fuel standard tariff by 7.3% from 15 September 2017. So we’ve based our calculations on its new price, as this is what you’ll be paying, per year, in a few weeks’ time.

  1. ?834 Iresa Limited Iresa Flex4 12month Fixed Direct Debit – Paperless. Fixed tariff with no exit fee. ?353 saving from Npower, ?286 saving from British Gas.
  2. ?834 Iresa Limited Iresa Flex4 Standard Variable – Paperless.

    Variable tariff with no exit fee. ?353 saving from Npower, ?286 saving from British Gas.

  3. ?843 Economy Energy Online Saver. Fixed tariff with ?25 exit fee per fuel. ?343 saving from Npower, ?277 saving from British Gas.[6]
  4. ?854 Tonik Energy Positively Renewable – Paperless. Fixed tariff with no exit fee. ?333 saving from Npower, ?266 saving from British Gas.[7]
  5. ?857 Avro Energy Simple and Value – Paperless.

    Fixed tariff with no exit fee. ?330 saving from Npower, ?264 saving from British Gas.[8]

If you live in Northern Ireland, our dedicated Northern Ireland electricity and gas suppliers[9] guide reveals the best and worst firms you can switch to, rated by their customers.

Energy tariffs to watch out for

Ovo Energy[10] launched a tariff aimed at drivers of electric cars[11] this week. EV Everywhere is a two-year fixed deal including membership of a network of electric vehicle charging stations for the period of the deal. The company estimates that Britain will have one million electric vehicles by 2022, after a ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars[12] from 2040.

Good Energy and Ecotricity also offer tariffs for electric cars. Meanwhile, we’ve been keeping an eye on the priciest energy tariffs. Small supplier Glide[13]‘s variable dual-fuel tariff (Electricity and Gas – Paperless) has been the priciest for at least the past three months.

It costs ?1,404 per year for the average user. That’s ?570 more than this month’s cheapest deal.

?570: the amount you could be overpaying if you’re on the priciest tariff available

Glide says it’s the ‘market-leading utility provider for shared accommodation’ and specialises in supplying tenants, landlords and letting agents. It provides home phone, broadband and TV, as well as gas and electricity, on one bill to tenants in shared accommodation who only each want to pay their own share.

Economy Energy is also currently offering a deal that costs more than Npower’s standard tariff. Economy Energy’s Evergreen Direct Saver costs ?1,128 per year – ?394 pricier than the cheapest deal. (How our prices are calculated: Prices are based on a dual-fuel tariff for an average user (using 3,100kWh of electricity and 12,500kWh of gas per year), paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless bills and are averaged across all regions.

Exact prices can vary according to region, usage and payment method. Prices are rounded to the nearest whole pound. The prices given in the list above are correct as of 2 August 2017.)

References

  1. ^ British Gas increased the price of its standard deal (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Which?

    Switch (switch.which.co.uk)

  3. ^ Iresa (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Npower’s (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ British Gas’s (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Economy Energy (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Tonik Energy (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ Avro Energy (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ Northern Ireland electricity and gas suppliers (www.which.co.uk)
  10. ^ Ovo Energy (www.which.co.uk)
  11. ^ electric cars (www.which.co.uk)
  12. ^ ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars (www.which.co.uk)
  13. ^ Glide (www.which.co.uk)

Have you been with your energy supplier longer than with your spouse?

Some energy users have been with the same supplier for 54 years or more, exclusive Which? research reveals. In sickness and in health, through price rises and prompts to switch, these customers have remained loyal to their gas and electricity provider. If this sounds like you, does your relationship with your energy supplier predate that with your partner?

A quarter of energy customers have ‘always’ been with their energy supplier, according to our survey of more than 8,000 people.*

  • A fifth (21%) of people aged 75 or older told us that they’ve been with their energy supplier ‘always’. If you’re in this group, you can celebrate a golden anniversary with your firm – as you could have been one of its customer for 54 years or more.
  • Of those aged between 65 and 74, a quarter (25%) say they have always been with their energy firm – potentially making them a customer for 44 years or more.
  • Aged 35 and above? A quarter (24%) of those aged 35 to 44 have been with their energy supplier for 14 years.

Meanwhile, the average marriage length is 11.9 years, according to the Office of National Statistics’ latest figures (of those divorcing in 2015).

Read on to find out which firm’s customers are most loyal, and if their reasons for staying with their supplier stand up to our scrutiny.

If you’ve never switched, you should be able to save the most by finding a cheaper energy deal. Compare gas and electricity prices[1] with our independent energy comparison website Which? Switch to see how much you could save on energy. Or phone us on 0800 410 1149 or 01259 220235.

British Gas, EDF Energy, Npower: whose customers are most loyal?

The energy market in Great Britain was privatised in the 1990s and customers split between six energy suppliers: British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.

Today these are referred to as the ‘Big Six’ and the ‘incumbent’ suppliers. If you have always been with the same energy firm, and started paying for energy before privatisation, you’ll be supplied by one of these firms. British Gas has the greatest percentage of customers who told us they’ve ‘always’ been with the firm.

Nearly half (47%) have never switched, compared with 15% of Scottish Power’s customers who told us they have ‘always’ been with the company. Our reviews reveal what energy customers really think of the Big Six energy firms[2]. If you’ve taken no action at all on your energy bills, you’ll be on your energy firm’s standard variable tariff.

This is also often its most expensive deal. Npower customers on its standard tariff have the most to save by switching, out of customers with the Big Six suppliers. Its standard tariff costs ?1,186 for a year – ?353 more than the current cheapest deal on the market for an average user.

Top five reasons for staying loyal to your energy company

Nearly half (47%) of people have been with their energy supplier more than five years, and a further 21% have been with them for two to five years, according to our survey.

The top reason for staying with an energy firm is being happy with the current supplier (48%), followed by believing all suppliers are the same so there’s no point in switching (22%) and having checked the prices of other suppliers and being on a good deal already (22%). But there are big differences between the best and worst energy suppliers[3], according to our survey of more than 8,000 of their customers. Results reveal a 34 percentage point gap between the highest and lowest-scoring suppliers.

Even if you’re on a good energy deal now, keep an eye on your bills. Fixed energy deals usually last for one or two years; after this, you’ll be automatically moved onto your supplier’s standard tariff if you take no action. This can cost you hundreds of pounds more over a year.

If your fixed deal is coming to an end, look for a new cheap deal. Your energy supplier cannot charge you an exit fee in the last 49 days of your deal. *Online survey of 8,657 members of the general public in Great Britain who are responsible for paying their energy bills in October 2016.

Our estimates of how long people could have been customers are based on becoming a customer at 21 years old.

References

  1. ^ Compare gas and electricity prices (switch.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Big Six energy firms (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ best and worst energy suppliers (www.which.co.uk)

British Gas raises electricity prices

British Gas, the country’s biggest energy supplier, has announced a 12.5% increase in electricity prices for customers on its standard tariff. The rise kicks in next month. Gas prices are not increasing, so the typical household on British Gas’ standard dual fuel tariff will see an average of ?76 added to their bill over the next year (a 7.3% increase).

The electricity price rise comes into effect on 15 September. British Gas says 3.1 million of its customers will be affected. It will also give a ?76 credit to the accounts of 200,000 of those customers who receive the Warm Home Discount to protect them from the increase.

3.1 million British Gas customers will be affected

British Gas previously promised customers it wouldn’t raise its standard energy prices until August.

All of the other Big Six energy firms raised their prices in the spring. But British Gas’ standard tariff will still be the cheapest of the Big Six after the price rise. Which?

Managing Director of Home Products and Services, Alex Neill, said: ‘Hard-pressed consumers waiting to see how the Government will tackle costly standard variable tariffs will be disappointed to see prices rising. ‘Customers concerned about their tariff should switch to a fixed price deal now and the Government should rapidly set out how it intends to make this market work better for consumers.’ If you’re a British Gas customer on a standard tariff, there’s still time to switch to a cheaper fixed deal to avoid your bills going up.

Use our independent site Which? Switch to find a cheaper gas and electricity deal[1] for you.

What British Gas customers need to know

If you’re a British Gas[2] customer on its standard variable tariff (called Standard – Paper and Paperless), your bills will go up by ?76 on average per year (based on a typical annual dual fuel bill) after the price rise on 15th September. But if you’re on a fixed energy deal, the price rise will not affect you until your tariff comes to an end.

British Gas’ standard dual fuel tariff currently costs ?1,044 on average per year for a household (based on Ofgem averages for a medium user), and is currently the cheapest standard variable tariff of the Big Six energy suppliers (for those paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless bills). Following the price rise, the British Gas tariff will still be the cheapest Big Six standard variable tariff. It will cost ?1,120 on average per year.

There is no exit fee on a standard variable tariff, so you’re free to switch to a cheaper deal or energy supplier to save money. At present you could save ?210 by switching from British Gas’ standard variable tariff to the cheapest UK-wide dual fuel deal on the market (from Iresa[3]). When the price rise comes into force, the savings will be greater (?286).

But if you’d rather stay with British Gas, you can choose a fixed deal. Its Home Energy Secure tariff will cost ?1,107 per year on average, with fixed prices until August 2019. So it would save you ?13 per year from September, but will cost you ?5 more per month until then.

Switching typically takes a few weeks so there’s still time to find a new energy deal before the price rise adds to your bills. Some energy firms are signed up to a scheme and pledge to complete your switch within three weeks. Find out about the Switching Guarantee[4] and which firms are signed up.

Why is British Gas raising its electricity prices?

British Gas blamed its price rise on the increasing costs of energy policy and delivery to customers’ homes since 2014.

The Chief Executive of Centrica Consumer, Mark Hodges, said: ‘We held off increasing prices for many months longer than most suppliers in order to protect our customers from rising costs, so it is a difficult decision to have to announce an increase in electricity prices. This rise reflects an underlying increase in policy and transmission costs.’ This is the first time British Gas has raised prices since November 2013 and it has cut prices four times since then.

British Gas came 15th out of 23 GB energy firms included in our latest energy companies satisfaction survey[5]. It was the second-highest-scoring of the Big Six energy firms, finishing slightly behind rival Eon. The highest-scoring supplier was smaller firm Ovo Energy[6], with a customer score of 78%.

While Npower[7] languished in last place with 44%. (How our prices are calculated: Prices are based on a dual-fuel tariff for an average user (using Ofgem averages of 3,100kWh of electricity and 12,500kWh of gas per year), paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless bills and are averaged across all regions. Exact prices can vary according to region, usage and payment method.

Data provided by Energylinx and prices are rounded to the nearest whole pound.

Data correct at 31 July 2017.)

References

  1. ^ cheaper gas and electricity deal (switch.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ British Gas (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Iresa (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Switching Guarantee (www.energyswitchguarantee.com)
  5. ^ energy companies satisfaction survey (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Ovo Energy (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Npower (www.which.co.uk)