Switch & save: Dual fuel vs single fuel energy tariffs.
Can switching from a dual fuel to single fuel energy tariff save even more money?
I am sure most of you know by now it’s worth shopping around to find the cheapest gas and electricity suppliers, rather than stay with the same energy company on an uncompetitive tariff.
A few months ago I told you I’d switched from Scottish Power to the not-for-profit energy company, Robin Hood Energy, for my gas and electricity, with projected savings of £300 a year with no exit fees. (See my post here).
I always try to keep an eye on my fuel costs so after three months with Robin Hood Energy it was time for me to check I was still getting value for money by comparing my current dual fuel tariff with other suppliers.
I used the energy price comparison website UKPower.co.uk, which is an OFGEM accredited comparison tool to compare the whole market. In the past I have also used uSwitch, moneysupermarket and comparethemarket which compare energy prices as well as the prices of insurance, mobile phones, holidays and financial products. All of these powerful gas and electricity tariff comparison tools will identify which suppliers can offer you the most competitive tariffs, depending on your usage and requirements.
Choosing the best tariff
In the past, I tended to compare the prices of dual fuel tariffs. This time I decided to be much more thorough and see if I could save even more money by switching to single fuel tariffs offered by different energy companies.
I’m not really sure why I hadn’t considered searching for the best single energy tariff deals before. Perhaps I thought it would be more hassle? Perhaps I didn’t think I would save any more money by doing it that way or perhaps I just didn’t like the idea of splitting up my little ‘fuel family’? Who knows? Whatever the reasons, I decided to be more adventurous this time, using the price comparison website to compare single fuel tariffs (‘gas only’ and ‘electricity only’) as well as dual fuel tariffs. I would finally see whether keeping my little ‘fuel family’ together or splitting gas and electricity between different energy suppliers would save the most money.
In my experience, choosing the best deal isn’t always about choosing the cheapest tariff. For example, I tend to prefer fixed-rate tariffs so I can plan my budget for the year and I also prefer tariffs without exit fees. However, if significant savings can be made by switching to a tariff with exit fees (which can be around £25-£30 per fuel) I would be prepared to stay put for the duration of the fixed rate or at least wait until a competitor could offer a cheaper deal even after the exit fees were taken into account.
So, armed with the details of my annual fuel consumption in kWh and details of my current tariff, (vital if you want to increase the accuracy of the search results), I used the UKPower.co.uk energy price comparision tool to search for the cheapest single fuel tariffs as well as the cheapest dual fuel deals.
It was an exercise well worth doing and I was surprised by the results!
Dual fuel deals
As expected, things had moved on since I switched to Robin Hood Energy Prime V2 Fixed dual fuel tariff back in December 2015 and there were now more competitive dual fuel tariffs available. Scottish Power, my old supplier, were now the cheapest dual fuel deal with their ‘Online Fixed Price Energy April 2017 v2 tariff’. Switching to this tariff could slash the cost of my annual fuel bill by £196.
Single fuel deals
Although I could save over £16 per month by switching from one dual fuel tariff to another, I wanted to see if I could save even more money by getting my gas and electricity from two different companies or from the same company via single, rather than dual, fuel tariffs. One of the benefits of searching for single fuel tariffs is that it allowed me to access competitive deals from companies who only supply gas or electricity, such as Zog Energy (currently a gas only supplier).
a) Electricity only tariffs
When I compared electricity only tariffs, UKPower’s results showed that I could save up to £47 per year by switching my electricity to another supplier. The cheapest was GB Energy Supply (£47 per year, but I would have to pay one month in advance), closely followed by The Co-operative Energy’s fixed rate electricity tariff which offered a saving of £42 per year.
However, it is worth noting that these two companies both scored poorly in a recent Moneysavingexpert Customer Satisfaction Survey of energy companies (albeit from a smaller sample size than other larger more established companies).
Interestingly, if I switch my current Robin Hood Energy Prime V2 tariff to the new Robin Hood Energy Prime V3 fixed rate electricity tariff, I can save a further £20 per year. So, if I decide to stay with Robin Hood Energy for my electricity, I can simply ring up and switch to the V3 tariff as I’m not tied in to my current tariff and there are no exit fees.
b) Gas only tariffs
The ‘gas only’ tariff search was the biggest surprise. Switching to Zog energy’s Mercury 12 fixed rate tariff could save a whopping £168 per year. This gas only tariff from Zog does have a £25 (+vat) exit fee but with such a significant saving, I wouldn’t mind being tied in for a year.
Zog also offer three more tariffs, including variable tariffs and fixed tariffs with no exit fees. However, the Mercury 12 tariff was the cheapest option for me.
So what is Zog energy and why is it able to offer lower rates than the larger energy companies?
Zog Energy is an independent domestic energy supply company licensed by the national energy regulator Ofgem to supply gas to domestic and business customers across Great Britain. It was started by two double Queen’s Award winning entrepreneurs. Zog offers a range of transparent tariffs which are easy to understand and which the company hope will appeal to domestic consumers.
Zog states on its website:
The sole purpose of Zog is to provide its customers with the best possible value energy. To achieve this the company keeps its running costs as low as possible. Using their specialist knowledge of the software industry the founders have invested in the best value technology available to keep costs down. They use cloud computing and efficient customer service management systems. Having low overheads and nobody else to answer to, they can create great deals for their customers.
Zog is starting with gas because this is normally the highest proportion of domestic customers’ annual fuel bill. The majority of customers in the UK are still stuck on old tariffs which do not give them the lowest price. Zog aims to help people save money by offering the most competitive prices possible and making it easy with a quick and simple switchover process.
Zog is able to offer cheaper gas tariffs than the larger suppliers because it has access to the same wholesale gas markets as other suppliers and has cheaper overheads.
Zog claim that you will always know what you pay for your energy, paying a standing charge and then paying for each unit you use. There are no baffling tariff ranges, no weird energy usage graphs.
My UKPower energy price comparison search results produced some surprising results:
- After only three months with Robin Hood Energy I could save up to £215 a year by switching to a different supplier.
- Switching to the cheapest dual fuel tariff (Scottish Power Online Fixed Price Energy April 2017 v2 tariff ) could save me £196 per year based on my annual fuel consumption.
- Switching my gas and electricity to single fuel tariffs offered by two different companies, Zog energy for gas and GB Energy Supply for electricity could save me £215 per year, that’s £19 more than Scottish Power’s dual fuel deal. Plus, I would be supporting a smaller companies, rather than one of the ‘Big six’.
Over to you!
Why not visit one or more of the energy price comparison websites (armed with as much information as you can provide on your existing tariff, your annual fuel consumption etc) to see if you can save on your fuel bills too, either by switching to a dual fuel tariff or single fuel tariffs?
And don’t forget, you can often get further savings on your fuel bills by opting for a paperless tariff (online) and by paying by direct debit. Good luck!
I would love to hear your experiences and see how much you can save by switching.
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Credits: Feature Image © Csabacz | Dreamstime.com – Gas burner
I think this highlights the major problem with switching energy suppliers. It is very complicated and time consuming to look at all the different options. My father-in-law went with a small company I hadn’t heard of before some years ago. They promised to be cheaper but the bills were hundreds of pounds out. It took him months to sort it out.
That’s awful. Had they been deliberately misleading about the KWh costs and tariff or had they made a mistake with his billing? I must say I do tend to keep a close eye on my bills for that reason but as I said, I was amazed that even in the space of 2-3 months, the energy market can change dramatically and you can end up going back to the company you left because suddenly they are offering a competitive tariff again!
Move over Martin Lewis! Your research is to be commended Jane.