Compare dual-fuel energy suppliers online
The term ‘dual-fuel’ simply refers to one energy company supplying both your gas and electricity in one single contract.
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In January 2016 the Competition and Markets authority conducted an energy market investigation which found that over 20 million energy customers were utilising payment of their gas and electricity via a dual fuel contract.
It is often more convenient not having to deal with two different energy suppliers, but it is worth noting that it’s not always the cheapest option.Historically, dual fuel deals tended to be a cheaper option as suppliers offered heavy discounts for sourcing both utilities through them.
Times have changed and due to complex pricing tariffs and the rise of energy companies who specialise in supplying just gas or just electricity means that dual-fuel tariffs are now not always the most competitively priced.
Every households’ circumstances and needs are different, but in the quote process, you can choose to compare dual fuel deals, just electricity and/or just compare gas rates.
We’d thoroughly recommend that you do as much research as possible before committing to an energy provider. Regularly shopping around and comparing all tariffs available on the energy market could have you find not only a cheaper deal but a more appropriate one too.
Remaining loyal to the same energy supplier(s) over a long period will often mean that you’re on their standard tariff (SVT), this means you are likely spending more money than you need to on your energy bills.
You may be put off by the thought that it is very hard to shop around for a cheaper energy deal, thinking there is a lot of groundwork and phone calls, but it couldn’t be simpler to switch.
Finding the right energy supplier and tariff through a energy price comparison website such as Utility Saving Expert is an easy task to complete, and the energy regulator Ofgem work with utility companies to make the process more streamlined to further clarify the process.
It is worth checking your options online at least every six months or so, by using a comparison website to review prices and tariffs from all UK energy suppliers, including the smaller providers.
If you have decided on the dual-fuel provider you want to switch to and filled in the online application form, the new supplier will get in touch to confirm your switch.
You’ll be given a cooling-off period of 14 days in case you want to change your mind, after which the contract will go ahead.
The new supplier will take up-to-date meter readings and provide you with a new direct debit mandate if you are going to pay via direct debit. Other payment options will also be available.
Your new supplier will contact the old one(s) on your behalf.
Most energy companies will accept all the usual payment methods that can also be used for separate gas and electric contracts.
Your energy provider may offer you a lower rate if you choose to pay via direct debit. This is a monthly payment usually taken from your bank account on the same date each month.
Direct debits are a very convenient way to pay, as you don’t have to worry about forgetting to pay or having to incur the extra expense of posting payment.
Many customers do still pay their utility bills using cheque, but most energy companies prefer accounts to be managed online, removing the waste and cost of using paper. Of course, it is still possible to pay over the counter at the Post Office or by postal order. This works like a cheque and is often used by people who do not have a bank account.
Lastly you can also phone your energy company or pay online with a credit or debit card.
If you are experiencing difficulties paying your energy bills it is best to contact your energy supplier as soon as possible to explain your situation.
If they are not aware of a problem, it could escalate to the point of having your gas and electricity supplies cut off.
Energy firms often help customers who are having trouble paying their bills. They can sometimes suggest a different tariff or advise you to switch to a prepayment meter to avoid falling into arrears in the future.
If you are in debt to the energy firm you might not be able to switch to another company offering a better deal, so it is best to deal with any problems before they become a major issue.
NB: If you are less than £500 in debt with your current energy supplier, often you will be able to switch.
It’s important to always remember to read your new energy contract thoroughly. There might be a charge for leaving your new contract early, or a special rate may only apply until a particular date.
Always check the small print and don’t be afraid to pick the phone or email the supplier directly if you want to ask a question, no matter how trivial the question may seem.