• Valeria Shreiber

Fixed vs standard energy plans

Hi! If you’re on a fixed rate tariff, the date it ends is one you definitely need to put in your diary. Here’s why. With a fixed rate tariff, the fee you pay per unit of energy, and the daily standing charge, are set in stone for the duration of the plan. When your fixed plan comes to an end, it’s likely you’ll be rolled onto a standard plan.

Standard plans are often more expensive than fixed plans and normally are variable, meaning you have the risk that energy fees can go up or down. This means that your bills could increase and you end up paying more for the same energy. It's a good option to lock in a fixed rate around the same as - or cheaper than - the rate you’re paying now to save more and maintain your peace of mind.

When does my fixed plan end?

Your fixed plan will end on a set date, but you don’t need to wait until then to switch. You can move to a new plan 49 days before your current plan ends without paying an exit fee. Your supplier should let you know when your plan is coming to an end, but you don't have to wait to receive the reminder. If you’re within the 49-day limit, you can still check your bill or run a comparison. What are you waiting for?

What should I do when my fixed price plan ends?

When your fixed plan is about to end, the first thing to do is find out which plan your supplier will be moving you to. This may be your supplier's 'Standard' plan, although some suppliers may offer you the chance to fix your prices again.

Standard energy plans are among the most expensive in the market and there are usually cheaper plans available. If you're offered the chance to fix your prices again, you may wish to take it, if you are willing to pay above-average prices in return for security against potential price rises in the future.

Once you know what energy plan you're being moved to:

  • compare all available energy plans online and find out how your new plan compares to other deals;

  • switch your gas and electricity supplier if you find that you could be saving money with another energy supplier.

Should I fix my energy prices?

It's up to you whether to choose fixed price energy or not. Fixed price energy tariffs can be a fantastic option, offering security at the very least, and fantastic savings when you switch at the right time.

However, as mentioned above, fixed energy deals are a gamble, very much like a fixed mortgage. However, rather than hedging your bets against interest rate rises, fixed energy prices allow you to bet on future energy price rises.

If you use our online tool to find an appealing fixed price tariff, chances are that it may cost slightly more than your current variable plan. However, even a slightly more expensive plan will pay for itself if your energy supplier puts up its prices.

It is only in the event of prices dropping that you will lose out, but this is rare. They will usually remain the same or increase.

How else can I control my energy prices?

The simplest way to ensure your energy costs don’t go up, whether you choose fixed price energy or not, is to control your usage. Whether prices go up or down, if you can reduce your usage you will always be in control of your energy bills.

The simplest changes can be made around the home. Checking for draughts around windows and doors is simple, and installing draught proofing is cheap and easy to do. It will also save you a lot of money, with an estimated 30% of heat in the home lost through draughts. The most common culprits are around doors and windows, but you should also check floorboards, loft hatches and letterboxes.

Other simple changes include dropping the thermostat by just one degree and checking your timers are accurately set up, particularly after the clocks go forward or backward.

You could also consider purchasing a smart thermostat. These devices allow you to control your heating remotely and in some cases even adapt your home’s temperature to best suit your needs, without you having to lift a finger. The data a smart thermostat provides should also enable you to work out the most energy efficient way to heat your home as well as save money.

Another way to cut your usage is to generate your own energy. Solar panels or wind turbines allow you to generate your own energy which you can then use, reducing your overall energy consumption.

How easy is it to switch?

It generally takes 21 days to switch, but the process can be quicker. You won’t be charged twice or be without an energy supply at any point, so your switch should be completed without any issues. And remember, switching the plan you’re on doesn't always mean changing the supplier - if you’re happy with the supplier you’re with, they might have a cheaper tariff available you can switch to, rather than their default plan.

To find a new fixed rate, use ApTap to make sure you’re getting a deal that matches your needs. Just go to our web-app page to get started.

Happy switching!

Team ApTap

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