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How to get the best energy deal for you

Energy suppliers rarely reward you for loyalty and this could mean that you’re paying more for your energy than you have to. There are some steps you can take to make sure you're getting the best energy deal for you.

Switching energy supplier or tariff has previously been an easy way to save money on bills. However, the recent rise in energy prices means there are fewer deals on offer than usual. It might be difficult to find a cheaper deal than your current tariff, or one you can easily switch to. Opting for a fixed-price tariff gives more certainty over bills but, depending on the market, may increase your costs overall.

You should always seek impartial advice before switching – for example from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Before you start, make sure you have the following information at the ready:

  • the name of your current supplier and current tariff
  • how much you spent on electricity and gas in the past year. Look at past bills or ask your current supplier, otherwise work it out approximately
  • how you currently pay, e.g. cheque or direct debit
  • how you'd like to pay in future
  • your postcode.

See what other energy deals your supplier offers

You may be paying too much for your energy. Your supplier will offer a range of tariffs, some of which may work out cheaper for you. Your bills and other statements should give you some possible cheaper options, or you can call your supplier to ask.

You may save more money by switching to a different supplier. Switching supplier doesn’t change the energy you receive at all, just who you pay for it, so there’s no need to change any pipes or cables. This also means you don’t need to worry about an interruption to your energy supply when switching.

You can contact a supplier directly to ask about their best deals. They should be able to give you this information over the phone or send you pricing details on request. However, it can be easier to use a price comparison website to compare tariffs as there's a large number on offer.

It's also important to give regular meter readings for accurate bills, check your bills for accuracy and raise any concerns with your supplier.

How do I choose the best energy deal for me?

When comparing prices, ask yourself:

  • Are there any special offers or discounts? If so, how long will these run for?
  • Are there any extra or hidden charges?
  • Is the payment schedule and method right for you? Direct debit is usually the cheapest method and it will generally save you hundreds of pounds a year compared with paying by cash, card or cheque – but you may feel more comfortable paying on receipt of a bill, and that's OK if it's what is right for you.
  • How much is the standing charge and the consumption charge? The standing charge is a fixed amount that covers the cost of maintaining your supply, and the consumption charge is the amount you’re charged for the gas or electricity you use. Some companies have a low standing charge and balance this with a high consumption charge.

Check how you’re paying your energy bills

Are you paying your energy bills in the most cost-effective way? Most suppliers offer a discount if you pay by direct debit instead of cash or cheque. Paperless billing, where you manage your account online instead of receiving bills in the post, may also work out cheaper.

Only change your payment method if you know this would work for you. Many people like having paper bills, and direct debits that are fixed can lead to you overpaying or underpaying for your energy.

Switch energy supplier to get a better deal

You may save more money in this way if you switch energy supplier. You can use an Ofgem-accredited price comparison website to help you compare deals across a range of suppliers. Many of these websites have a telephone service you can use if you’re not online.

It's important to use an impartial website. Look for the Confidence Code logo, which is a sign that the site has signed up to Ofgem's voluntary code of practice and will offer independent and unbiased comparisons.


Many Ofgem-accredited websites also offer a telephone service you can use if you're not online. Here are some accredited websites that carry the Confidence Code and offer a telephone service:

When you’ve found the right tariff, you can switch via a price comparison website or by calling the supplier. If you're switching suppliers, your new supplier will contact your current one to carry out the switch.

Switching should happen within 5 days of the 14-day 'cooling-off period'. During this period you can cancel the switch without penalty. If you’re in credit with your current supplier, make sure you claim the money back from them when you switch.

Due to the current crisis in energy prices, you may not save money by switching and you might be better off sticking with your current supplier. Always seek impartial advice before switching, for example from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Speak to someone if you’re in difficulty

If you’re having difficulty paying your bills, speak to your supplier as soon as you can. They'll let you know how they can help you avoid getting into debt.

If you're already behind with making payments, you may be able to agree on a repayment plan to pay the debt.

If you don't want to deal directly with your supplier, you can ask an adviser to contact them on your behalf.

Find out more about managing debt

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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