Signing up to an annual direct debit payment plan from your energy supplier is supposed to help prevent bill shock as your payments are spread equally throughout the year. But it might not work like that...
Two more energy giants announce price cuts
Katie Collins - PA Wire
British Gas and Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) have both announced small price cuts for their energy customers.
British Gas has reduced its standard electricity prices by 5% from today as the energy price war really starts to heat up.
It says that the cut will save its 5.3 million single rate electricity and dual fuel customers on a variable tariff £24 a year on average. It won't apply to people who are on Economy 7 or have already fixed their tariff.
British Gas claims that this cut now makes it the cheapest major electricity supplier in Britain.
Meanwhile, SSE says that it will reduce the typical gas bill of its customers by around £28 a year. If you're an M&S Energy customer, you'll also benefit from the price drop.
However, Consumer Focus says SSE is not applying the price cut to its standing charge - the daily charge customers have to pay to the supplier - so the real price cut is actually 3.8%.
Big drop unlikely
Back in August, British Gas raised its electricity prices by a whopping 16%, so it's debatable if any existing customers will see a noticeable drop in their bills.
Yesterday, EDF cut its gas prices by 5% in response to the falling wholesale price of gas. And it's more than likely that the rest of the 'Big Six' - E.ON, npower and Scottish Power - will now follow suit.
Smaller suppliers Ovo and Co-operative Energy have gone one step further by both reducing their dual fuel tariffs in recent weeks.
Switch or wait
Despite the forecasts of further price drops, it's still well worth comparing rates and seeing if you could save.
If you haven't switched tariffs in a while, chances are you are on the standard and most expensive rate. Changing onto a fixed or online tariff could cut your bills immediately. Yes, rates could continue to drop in the coming months. But if you do decide to stick on a pricey deal and wait around for them, you could see the excess you're paying now outweigh any future savings.
So with that in mind, here are the current cheapest energy tariffs:
|Tariff||Average cost*||Average saving**||Fixed or capped?|
|First:utility iSave v9||£1,030||£315||No|
|Ovo New Energy Fixed||£1,061||£284||Fixed for 12 months|
|Npower Go Fix 10||£1,078||£267||Fixed until 8 April 2013|
|Scottish Power Online Energy Saver 17||£1,085||£260||No|
|Scottish Power Online Fixed April 2013||£1,095||£250||Fixed until April 2013|
As you can see, there's still as much as £315 to be saved by switching onto the market-leading tariff.
The best deal currently around is the online iSave tariff from first:utility. However with the top fixed tariff just £31 pricier on average, it may be worth foregoing the cheapest deal for the peace of mind of a year-long, set-price rate.
* All calculations are for an average usage duel fuel household paying by monthly direct debit. Average usage as defined by OFGEM is 16,500 kWh pa of gas and 3,300 kWh pa of electricity.
** Against a typical bill of £1,345 per year (source: Ofgem).
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Now they anounce a cr@ppy saving that doesn't even apply to all customers and expect us to be grateful. It really is a disgrace and there's nothing we can do about it because even if you 'switch' the next lot are just as bad as the crowd you left.
This 5% drop means nothing. I'm still paying 11% more than earlier last year. Move to another supplier? No point, they are all in it together. What you save on electric, they more than make up for on gas, and vice versa.
And the argument of "if you don't use as much, they'll have to bring prices down" doesn't wash. We've had the mildest winter for decades, yet we're still paying more for gas and electric. The utilities companies will say that's because they have to buy in advance, when costs were high; yet they never seem to buy when costs are low and pass those savings on to customers.
I won't hold my breath for the utilities companies to announce real price drops of 15% or more.
Ah sorry I misread that ... EDL are reducing their gas prices .... thieving BG aren't :)
Are these companies having a laugh. While any reduction in the outrageous prices is welcome do they think their customers are stupid?
It has been well reported that wholesale gas prices have fallen by some 11% over the past year so why is it that EDF can only drop prices by 5% ?Just greed pure and simple!
And if British Gas can drop electric prices by 5% you can be sure all the others can afford too as well drop their gas prices!!!
ps I'm NOT fiddling it
hi, i read the comments. everyone seems angry at the high cost, even after this 5%cut. why get angry? get even instead.
i simply shut down my gas when they increase the tariff in 2008 and found that i can do without central heating. it is easy to keep warm with fleece clothing, and hot food and just take a walk. i live in london and in a flat so maybe my situation is not usual. but try it, u will be amaze at how easy it is to adapt to the cold rather than just automatically switch on the heating. this winter is very warm. if u have the heating on, u are not doing yourself a favour.
get even, and not use the gas at all. that will hit BG right in the pocket. if u dont use the gas , there is no profit for them.
i can use electric heaters to heat up individual rooms, but i found no need to do so.
my elect bill is £60 a quarter for a 2bedroom flat.
Yes i'll try that. When the children complain about being freezing and developing pnuemonia, i'm simply going to put a 'fleece' on them and tell them to go for a walk....
Then i'm going to cut a hole in my living room floor and fish for food like an eskimo. I wonder why nobody ever thought of just 'adapting to the cold' before. Genius.
At least other suppliers allow you to move to another, try Scottish Power they hold onto you for dear life. Over six months of trying to move still no joy. Every supplier I approach has said they do not entertain a two Mpan number connection.
Have even approached the Ombusman and still awaiting any decision. It feels like there is collusion going on at every level.
Anyone else had this problem with Scottish Power.
so I presume that they are going to plug this little 'loophole' and stop people involved in road accidents from claiming for their injuries???
It may not be a lot,but better in our pockets than theirs.
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