Can you switch tariffs?
Yes, you can ask your supplier to move you to a cheaper tariff if you think you could save on your energy bills. You can also switch to a different energy supplier.
If you are on a fixed tariff, you may have to pay an exit fee to cancel your contract early so check your bill to make sure it doesn't end up costing you more to switch.
Read our guide on how to switch energy supplier for more information on switching.
Which tariff should you get?
When choosing an energy deal, you should think about:
The price of energy
How flexible you need your contract to be
Combining your gas and electricity services
Green or renewable energy sources
You can use our comparison to shop around and find the best energy tariff to suit you. Some companies may not supply your area, so use our postcode checker to see what is available where you live.
Think about how much you want to pay and how flexible you need your contract to be, and then choose from the following tariffs:
This is often the cheapest energy tariff, because the price is fixed at the start of your contract until a specified end date. There are two different types of fixed energy deal:
Prices are fixed for the length of the contract
Prices are fixed at different rates, at different stages of the contract
Your bills could still increase based on how much gas or electricity you use, but the set rate remains the same for the duration of your contract. This also means that if energy prices fall, your rate will not be reduced.
It is a type of fixed tariff where prices are linked to an index, like the FTSE 100. While the prices are fixed to a specific index at the start of the contract, the rates can vary in line with the index as it rises and falls.
This means you could end up paying more for your energy, so check the terms of the tariff before you sign up to make sure your rate stays fixed.
Your energy company must give you 30 days notice if the price of your energy is going up.
This is the default option offered by most energy companies, and is also called a standard tariff because the price you pay for your energy is not fixed.
A variable tariff is a good option if you want flexibility, because you are free to switch without charge whenever you want.
However, variable tariffs are often more expensive and the price could change at any time.
Most suppliers offer the option for you to combine your gas and electricity services in one dual fuel package, which could save you money on your energy bills.
You pay one bill for both your gas and electricity, and you also get a discount from your energy supplier for using them for both services.
You can still choose between fixed, standard and online tariffs, and you can compare dual fuel energy deals here.
Time of use
Tariffs like Economy 10 charge lower rates for your electricity at certain times of day, typically between midnight and 7am.
This could save you money if you use the majority of your energy during off peak hours, but rates during the day can be higher which could cost you more.
Time of use tariffs usually require you to have a new meter installed at your home, because you need to see two different readings depending on the time of day the energy is used.
You also need a storage heater fitted so that you can heat your water overnight ready to be used during the day, which could cost around £2,500.
It is the time of day when your gas or electricity is charged at a lower rate than usual.
It varies depending on the tariff you choose, but typically it ranges between 10pm and 8am.
Green energy tariffs use more renewable energy than standard gas or electricity.
They are sometimes more expensive than other energy tariffs, but some specialist companies offer cheap green energy and you could also get help with grants and schemes if you generate your own renewable energy.
This type of tariff runs completely online, which means the following are all managed via an online account or by email:
You could save money with an online tariff because the supplier charges you less for managing the account yourself. However, you should check your emails for important information as it will not be posted.
This tariff requires you to top up your energy using a prepayment meter, so you pay for your energy in advance and avoid being tied to a monthly or quarterly bill.
Paying for your energy as you go is a good way to make sure you only pay for what you need, but gas and electricity is more expensive with a prepayment meter.
How should you pay?
How you pay for your gas and electricity also affects how much your energy costs. Unless you choose a prepayment meter, there are several ways to pay:
Monthly direct debit: This is often the cheapest way to pay for your energy, as suppliers tend to offer a discount for direct debits. Your payments will be based on your annual usage, so you should check your bills to avoid underpaying or overpaying.
Quarterly: You can pay your energy bills by BACS transfer, cheque, or quarterly direct debit. This means that you need to pay off a higher lump sum each time you get your bill, so make sure you have enough money to cover the cost.
Payment card: This lets you make regular payments for your gas and electricity with a debit or credit card. You can pay weekly, fortnightly, or monthly by going to a PayPoint shop or local Post Office.
Choose the payment option that is easiest for you to manage and most affordable. If you are having trouble paying your energy bills, read our guide to find out how you can get help.