Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Why is it SO hard to find the cheapest energy deal?


So who should you switch to? The very cheapest tend to be variable online tariffs.

The problem is that prices can go up. Your account must be managed entirely via the internet, so you input meter readings online and receive statements by email.

The cheapest way to pay is by direct debit. You will normally be charged more if you receive paper bills or have a prepayment meter.

You are also penalised if you don’t want to use direct debit and choose to pay quarterly by cheque.

With other suppliers set to follow Scottish Power’s lead, the biggest worry for people is that their new supplier will increase prices.

Therefore, it may be best to opt for a fixed rate. You will pay a small premium for fixing, but your bill won’t go up. The best is EDF’s Fix Saver v2 which the supplier says should work out at £1,009 a year for a typical semi-detached home.

This is £69 more expensive than its cheapest variable deal — but your costs will not go up until September 2012.

These fixed-rate deals have limited capacity and are likely to be snapped up very quickly.

If you are in fuel poverty — where one-tenth or more of your income goes on gas and electricity — ask if you are eligible for your supplier’s social tariff, which gives a discount to the most vulnerable customers.

Each supplier has different eligibility criteria for social tariffs. EDF, for example, requires people to be either in fuel poverty or receiving income support or pension credit.

Social tariff customers can normally save £150 per year.

full article

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