Fixed vs variable
A fixed-price tariff essentially means the unit price you agree to pay is set for a certain period, such as one or two years, meaning it won’t increase for the duration of the fix. However, these tariffs may have exit fees if you decide to switch before your fixed term ends.
Conversely, variable tariffs – as the name suggests – are subject to price changes, though energy providers must give customers at least 30 days’ notice of the change in rate. They also have no exit fees. Currently, the top four cheapest deals are variable tariffs, but while they’re cheap now, suppliers could hike costs down the line.
For example, Bulb has hit its customers with a third rise this year, adding a further £100+/yr to energy bills for customers with typical use. Its Vari-Fair variable tariff was in the top three cheapest before the rise but now has fallen out of the top 30 cheapest.
Standard variable tariffs are typically energy suppliers’ default tariffs and are usually the most expensive. If you’ve never switched or your fixed deal is over, it’s likely you’re on one of these.
What can you do?
The best thing you can do, especially in the run-up to winter, is make sure you’re on the best tariff for you. As prices vary by region and usage you’ll need to do a comparison. To find your cheapest, use our Cheap Energy Club.
If you’d rather just stick with a name you know, you can use our ‘big name supplier‘ filter.
And even if you’re worried about switching firm, many can still save – though not nearly as much – by simply switching tariff with their current provider, using our ‘my current supplier‘ filter.