Dual fuel tariffs
It is not imperative to use one energy supplier for both gas and electricity; however it often proves beneficial for several reasons.
- Firstly, with a dual fuel tariff, you get one set of bills, making life easier.
- There is only one company to chase up with enquiries.
- They are often able to give you a better discount on any dual fuel tariff, and you have more clout if you are not satisfied for any reason.
- If you decide to combine bills and just use one supplier, it is no more complicated to switch than it would be if you changed to different individual companies.
Types of Energy Tariffs
Capped energy tariffs
You will enter into an agreement that your cost per kilowatt will stay below a fixed amount, and for a specified period of time. This would not be affected by any general fluctuation or rising energy prices. The downside is that the tariff may cost you more per month, as the suppliers will want to cover any potential increases. However you would still benefit from any cuts in energy prices. If you are considering changing your supplier and have an existing capped tariff, it would be wise to check that there are no penalty clauses for early closure.
Fixed price tariffs
The difference between fixed and capped tariffs may seem unclear to you. However it lies in the fact that “fixed” means just that. You will not benefit if energy supply charges generally drop in price. What you pay will stay the same. It may be one way to avoid sudden price increases, but will also tend to be a more expensive tariff than dual fuel types. As with capped tariffs, there may be penalties if you leave your contract early.
Online energy tariffs
By dealing with your energy bills online through the provider’s website, it is possible to get a discount. You don’t need to be a computer whiz kid; most companies try to make the process self-explanatory. Apart from saving on postage, it allows for a quick and efficient service, no more losing bits of important paperwork.
The principle is that you use your main energy needs in the early hours of the morning. This is not always suitable for everyone. On and off-peak charges will be considerably different, ideal if you have night storage heaters. Something to be aware of is that your price per Kilowatt may actually be higher during the day than on other tariffs, so Economy 7 needs to be specifically suited to your needs before it may become viable. You will also need a different meter fitted, and that may come with extra expense.
This system is not so common, and requires specific meters with installation fees, able to record three separate off peak times. One in the afternoon for two hours, another covers three hours in the evening and the last reads a five hour night time slot. It would be very easy to get confused. On-peak charges may also be higher.
Social energy tariffs
Vulnerable consumers, who spend 10% of their income on energy, should by law be offered a tariff that compares to the lowest available one within that area, including internet deals. Anyone who feels they qualify should contact their supplier.
By using smart cards, purchasing tokens or even in some cases inserting cash into the meter, customers can pay as they use the units. This would be suitable for anyone who does not want to be presented with a large bill, when it is due. Although a helpful approach for those on low income, it is often a more expensive way of paying for your electricity. Finding a lower tariff, and putting money in a tin to pay, may actually prove quite a bit cheaper
Having a green label does not in itself denote energy from renewable resources instead of fossil fuels. However it may be a sign that the supplier is using some of the money to finance investigation into “green” sources of energy. For more information visit, guide to green energy.
The Government is keen to encourage people to generate their own electricity by such means as solar panels or wind turbines. Subsidies and cash payments are available for electricity fed back into the mainframe. More details can be found on the UK government’s website.
Independent Gas Transporter Tariffs (IGT)
There are well over a million households that rely on gas supplied by independent transport, rather than using the national grid. There are premiums to be paid using this system, but it may be that you have this system of supply; if your meter point reference number starts with 74 up to 76 then your gas comes from an ITG.