We’re in the middle of a heatwave, so heating costs are likely to be far from your mind, but energy suppliers have been thinking about them – and taking advantage of the summer lull to hike our bills.
This wave of price hikes during the summer months includes a second increase for EDF customers this year, with other Big Six firms and smaller providers also lifting costs.
These bill increases bring the average out-of-contract customer’s annual spend to an eye-watering £1,196 – over £300 more than they need to be paying.
Energy bills: Switching won’t just get you cheaper bills, it can get you better service, green energy or free charging for electric vehicles
Even such a glorious British summer eventually fades away and that’s when those bigger bills will bite.
But it’s not just cash savings, or certainty from fixing your bills that’s worth switching for, there’s also a burgeoning number of companies offering something different.
There are far more options in the energy market these days giving you the option of supporting a challenger company, a cleaner energy producer or even tariffs specifically designed for electric car drivers.
Some companies are also marking themselves out from the crowd with clearer pricing.
For example, M&S is due to break into the energy market with a partnership with Octopus Energy from September and a pledge to ditch the typical ‘tease and squeeze’ pricing of most suppliers.
Alternatively some suppliers such as Outfox the Market and Pure Planet have ditched the typical pricing model altogether, opting for a monthly membership fee based on your usage.
|Supplier||Plan name||Average bill size||Tariff type||Green energy?|
|Eversmart Energy||Welcome home||£853||Variable||No|
|Usio Energy||Green Lite 0.2||£857||Variable||Yes|
|Outfox the Market||Zapp! July Tariff (medium consumption)||£859||Variable||Yes|
|People’s Energy||The People’s Tariff||£864||Variable||Yes|
|Avro Energy||Simple and Glory||£870||Fixed||No|
|Igloo Energy||IGLOO PIONEER||£871||Variable||No|
|Pure Planet||100% Green||£872||Variable||Yes|
|Nabuh Energy||Online Tariff Rose (12 month fixed)||£883||Fixed||No|
|Utility Point||Flexi Online Tracker 18 Wk29 Direct||£889||Variable||No|
|Source: uSwitch.com correct as of 23 July 2018|
What about supporting a smaller company?
There are a whole heap of smaller suppliers challenging the stranglehold of the Big Six.
These energy giants have historically taken advantage of customer’s inertia with sky-high prices that hit as soon as you lapse onto an out-of-contract deal known as a standard variable rate tariff.
Save Money, Make Money
As part of our new Save Money, make Money series, we will give you one quick tip to fix your finances each week.
Sign up to our newsletter emails to get it straight to your inbox.
Npower, EDF, E.on, SSE, Scottish Power and British Gas service 70 per cent of households according to recent research claims from Igloo Energy.
Smaller companies are usually cheaper as they are more likely to use price to compete at the top of the best-buy tables to draw in customers.
Importantly, they can also typically offer far better customer service, but you need to check on this.
Ofgem data shows the number of complaints received by smaller and medium sized suppliers compared to the Big Six between 2014 and the end of the first quarter this year.
Source: Ofgem. Total number of complaints received quarterly by each energy supplier group per 100,000 customer accounts between Q1 2014 and Q1 2018.
Green energy costs less than you think
Contrary to what you might believe, doing your bit for the environment can also be a money-saver with all ten of the cheapest renewable deals available for less than the average Big Six bill for the average household.
Some of the most recognisable companies include Outfox the Market, Tonik, Ovo, Pure Planet, Good Energy, Ecotricity and Bulb.
With a green energy tariff you draw energy from the National Grid as usual, but the tariffs promise to match the amount you use with energy generated by renewable sources.
Some suppliers even pledge a proportion of profits to future renewable energy projects.
Remember to check their green credentials first though as some label themselves as green but only offer a small percentage of renewable electricity.
Green gas is typically also only available in small proportions at the moment.
You can read more about how these tariffs work in our guide to green energy suppliers.
|Usio Energy||Green Lite 0.2||variable||£857|
|Outfox the Market||Zapp! July Tariff (medium consumption)||variable||£859|
|People’s Energy||The People’s Tariff||variable||£864|
|Pure Planet||100% Green||variable||£872|
|Tonik Energy||Positively Greenest v7||fixed (12 months)||£924|
|Nabuh Energy||Go Green Tariff (12 Month Fixed)||fixed (12 months)||£934|
|Solarplicity||Solarplicity’s Smart Fixed 2||fixed (12 months)||£952 (£60 exit fee if you leave)|
|Octopus Energy||Flexible Octopus||variable||£955|
|Fischer Energy||One Fair Tariff||variable||£962|
|Source: uSwitch.com correct as of 23 July 2018|
Drive an electric car?
You could save as an electric car owner by choosing a tariff that charges cheaper rates at night, or one of the deals specifically designed to help charge your car at the cheapest times, or on the move.
For example, Octopus Energy has an Energy Go deal that claims drivers would save 70 per cent compared to the average Big Six deal to charge their car and Ovo Energy has a EV everywhere deal that offers free membership to the POLAR plus charging network.
Alternatively Good Energy offers up to 5,028 miles worth of free electricity when you switch to its own EV tariff.
How to switch to a better deal
Energy companies take advantage of customer’s inertia, moving you on to expensive out-of-contract deals know as standard variable rate tariffs, once a fixed term deal ends.
These cost much more than their cheapest deals and are vulnerable to price hikes.
The best way to ensure you are never paying more than you should is to regularly switch.
It’s easier than you might expect.
You can compare the best deals for you using your postcode in one easy step with out energy-finder tool (right) powered by are carefully chosen partner service energy helpline.
You can read more about how to switch and the top energy saving tip.