Households signed up to web tariffs for gas and electricity are far better off than customers on standard deals, new figures suggest. So in this price hike climate why aren’t more of us taking advantage?
uSwitch has calculated that a typical UK household can expect to spend around £756 a year on the cost of heating and hot water if they’re on an offline, standard energy plan.
On an online tariff that yearly cost can drop to £616.
That’s a not so insignificant difference of £140 a year, if uSwitch’s sums are accurate. Yet, apparently only one in ten of us manage our bills digitally – which raises the question, why aren’t more of us making the switch?
More energy doom and gloom
This week’s news has been far from cheery for energy customers, making it all the more pertinent to get on a better deal now – and that’s rarely ever by staying on an energy company’s standard tariff.
Eon’s the latest in a growing line of energy companies (all of the ‘big six’ except EDF Energy) to announce a hike in its standard prices – gas up 9% and electricity by 3% from 4 February.
Meanwhile, Save the Children suggests that lower income households – which are more likely to be on expensive prepayment meter plans – pay £255 more for energy on average than wealthier households.
How online energy tariffs work
So, do you sit in the online or offline camp when it comes to your energy bills?
Online energy tariffs can offer fixed prices, meaning they won’t be susceptible to standard price rises, and often track below the company’s standard rate for a specified period.
Naturally, you’ll usually have to sign up directly with an energy company or through a comparison website, and also manage your bills online. Setting this up, along with extra jobs like submitting your own meter readings, might take a bit of getting used to – but it’s here you’ll find the better gas and electricity rates. This tariff round-up serves to illustrate the point.
You won’t be able to rest on your laurels, though. If your online deal is for a fixed term only, watch out for when it expires, otherwise you could get shifted to a pricier standard tariff.
Online versus offline bills
Of course, a bigger question hangs over energy companies delivering their most competitive deals in this way. Online-only tariffs are automatically inaccessible to homes without internet access, on a prepayment meter or those simply uncomfortable with managing bills online.
But if none of the above applies, what’s stopping you from giving one a go – or maybe you’re already an online tariff serial switcher?
Which? Members can join our team of energy experts on 27 January from 12.30pm for a special live energy Q&A session. They’ll be answering your energy questions – from getting yourself on a better tariff to troubleshooting problems with your supplier.