A Fixed price energy tariff ensures that you will pay the same rates on the energy you use for a set amount of time. The majority of fixed tariffs are fixed for 12 months, however, some suppliers will do offer longer fixed tariffs for 2 or 3 years.
Fixed tariffs can be confusing in the sense that households can assume that their bill will cost the same each month. Fixed energy prices simply mean that your unit rates will stay the same, but bills will still fluctuate depending on how much you use. This is a good thing as usage largely varies during different months of the year. Summer months are likely to be a lot cheaper due to warmer weather leading to lower energy consumption.
The cheapest tariffs currently available are predominantly fixed tariffs. Fixed price energy deals offer households protection from price rises, and in theory, mean that you don’t have to worry about switching again until your fix ends.
Conversely, for households who don’t mind changing a number of times each year, it may be more beneficial to be on a cheap variable tariff that they switch away from without being subject to cancellation fees. The majority of Fixed price tariffs will charge exit fees in the event that you switch again before the end of your fix. Exit fees are usually in the region of £30 per fuel (gas or Electricity), although there are some suppliers who only charge as little as £5 per fuel, with some suppliers not charging at all.
Some people prefer to be on the longer fixed tariffs to avoid having to switch every 6-12 months. This might be a bit of a gamble as you could miss out on big savings if prices drop, but obviously you could be paying less in the event of a price rise.
What should I do when my fixed price energy plan ends?
The first thing to do is to run a comparison and find out whether you can save by switching to another similar tariff. The majority of customers who come off a fixed deal will look for another fix with a similar length. This ensures that your fixed energy prices will stay the same over the course of the fix period, and doesn’t require you to switch again until the tariff is close to ending.
How do I find out when my fixed price energy tariff expires?
The month in which the tariff expires usually features in the tariff name and should be readily available on any bill. Some tariffs don’t have a fixed end date and will expire exactly 12 months from the date of the initial switchover, but again this should feature on a bill. Also, as already noted, your supplier should give you some warning that your contract is coming to an end.
When can I switch away without paying exit fees?
Energy suppliers are not able to charge any exit fees when you are in to the last 49 days of your contract. Some suppliers will notify customers that their fixed price energy tariffs are coming to an end when the customer reaches the 49 day window.
What if my fixed tariff has already expired?
If your tariff has already ended, then chances are you’ve been placed on your supplier’s standard tariff. A standard tariff is often a suppliers’ most expensive tariff, and is a variable plan. Variable tariffs mean unit rates are not fixed so you are susceptible to price rises.
If your tariff has expired and you’ve been moved on to standard, then you should run a comparison as you’re likely to make large savings.