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Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.
All of the energy companies have now had time to react to the government's reductions in green levies so we should be back to as level a playing field as we can expect.
You may notice energy companies advertising tempting lower monthly costs on their websites and communications with their customers. Don't get too excited, they're taking advantage of the new comparison rules from Ofgem which means using lower energy usage figures to represent a typical user. The "medium user” used to consume 3,300kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas. These figures have been reduced to 3,200 kWh of electricity and 13,500 kWh of gas representing an overall reduction of about 10.5% of the bill and a heavier bias towards electricity use rather than gas. All of which serves to remind us that we should use our actual usage figures to obtain a meaningful comparison.
The current longest fix is from Sainsbury's Energy allowing you to fix prices until the end of March 2018. However, it is a fair bit more expensive than nPower's Price Protector December 2017 product despite only offering an extra 3 months.
There is a price to pay for these guarantees. These tariffs are between 15-25% more expensive than the current cheapest fixes (First Utility's iSave Fixed v14 July 2015 or Scottish Power's Online Fixed Price Energy February 2015 both worth a look) so may not even work out cheaper in the long run and you'll be paying more now for the guarantee.
Spark Energy recently returned to the market after a six month absence while they were sorting out their customer service issues. Hopefully, their return is an indication that they've got their act together. Still offering some of the cheapest energy around their Spark Advance 3 tariff introduced on the 17th December incorporated Spark's price increase. It's a variable rate tariff but with no termination fees.
As we've pointed out before, you can now save even more by using separate suppliers for your gas and electricity.
We have become used to getting the best deal by taking both fuels from the same supplier but it's not necessarily the case any more. Many of the new smaller suppliers (who don't have to pay the green levies) only supply one fuel or the other. Though their prices may be competitive, if you restrict your search to just look at dual fuel deals they won't appear so you won't see them.
One advantage of our comparison service is that you can look at the Gas Only Price and Electricity Only Price allowing you to compare prices from separate suppliers.
We found a 9.2% saving*** against the **best fixed dual fuel rate by using separate suppliers. Note, that's comparing with the cheapest fix. If you compare it to the average of the big six standard tariffs you could save over 20%. Just look at the Gas Only Price and Electricity Only Price on the results table when running a comparison.
Downsides? You will have two companies to send meter readings to rather than one. You may also want to check what happens at the end of any fixed term or try to synchronise the separate contracts to end at the same time. You don't want to be forced into only looking for a single fuel or paying termination fees when a fixed term on one fuel ends but hasn't on the other! In the case of this deal, they both end at the same time so there's no problem.
*Savings based on "standard” usage figures now 3,200kWh electricity and 13,500kWh gas for an RG40 postcode paying by direct debit.
Best dual fuel fix was £1059.27 from First Utility's iSave Fixed v14 July 2015.
Best Gas Only price was £516.51 using the Daligas One tariff and best Electricity Only price was £445.43 from isupplyenergy's iFix 201502.
Total price using separate suppliers: £961.94, saving £97.33 or 9.19% compared to the best dual fuel fix. Average of the big six standard tariffs was £1205.88 so using separate suppliers would save £243.94 or 20.23%
Please note, variations in pricing by location and your actual energy usage figures may change which supplier is cheapest for you so run an accurate quote now.