Gas and electricity firm E.ON has announced plans to scrap its pricey standard variable tariffs (SVT), in a move that could save households hundreds of pounds.
The firm today said it would put an end to customers being rolled onto expensive tariffs at the end of their fixed term contracts – which according to GoCompare could save households £262 a year.
However the pledge comes with a catch, with the energy giant only offering the deal to those who agree to have a controversial smart meter installed.
E.ON’s CEO Michael Lewis said today: “Standard variable tariffs have had their day. Tomorrow is about customers feeling free to engage with the market with tariffs that work for them.”
To get the deal, you’ll have to switch to a new fixed tariff where your prices will be set for a year – you’ll also have the option to roam and switch as and when you please.
In addition, any SVT customer who already has a smart meter with E.ON will be offered the chance to move to a replacement one-year fixed tariff – a cheaper alternative.
Dual-fuel tariffs: Suppliers offer these plans for customers who want to receive both their gas and electricity from the same provider. Dual Fuel plans usually offer discounts or incentives.
Fixed-price energy tariffs: A fixed rate tariff means that the amount you pay per unit of usage will be fixed for a set period of time. This type of tariff is very popular during periods of time when prices are rising, but will not be such an attractive deal when prices are falling.
Standard tariffs: The default tariff which you’ll roll onto at the end of your plan. All suppliers offer a standard tariff, which essentially means there are no ‘frills’ such as discounts or fixed/capped price periods. Standard tariffs are usually the suppliers’ most expensive tariff.
Off-peak electricity tariffs: Economy 10 is when you pay normal prices most of the time, but cheaper rates (often half the price) during other ‘off-peak’ times. A good option if you mostly use your energy at night.
Tracker tariffs: Tariffs that ‘track’ below a specified rate, usually the suppliers’ standard prices. For example, a supplier might say they will ‘track 5% below our standard prices’. These types of tariff usually ‘track’ for a set amount of time and have exit fees attached.
The company said part of the campaign is to help expand its smart meter roll-out – which can put an end to predicted billing.
So far, it’s installed around a million of the energy-saving gadgets – up from around 750,000 in February.
Speaking about the firm’s plans to scrap variable plans, Citizens’ Advice said it “must not be a bad deal replacing another”.
CEO Gillian Guy said: “E.ON needs to be absolutely transparent about the costs of any rolling fixed deal, and also be clear with customers about what happens when the fixed period ends.”
Last Friday, British Gas recently became the latest of the Big Six to introduce an electricity price hike for 3.1 million customers.
Industry experts slammed the move as ‘incredibly disappointing’ for households – but called for families to act now before it jumps further.
Ben Wilson from GoCompare Energy said: “Though it’s not surprising to see British Gas hike their electricity costs just as energy usage increases, it’s still incredibly disappointing for the millions of homes that will be impacted.”
“Energy providers are continuing to punish loyal customers year after year, rewarding their loyalty with higher prices and poor excuses.
“Simply put, if you’ve been with your supplier for more than a year then there’s a good chance you’re paying more than you should be for your energy and could save up to £256 by switching. For just a few minutes work, it should be a no brainer.”
British Gas isn’t the only one at it. EDF Energy, npower, Scottish Power, Sainsbury’s Energy and a number of other smaller suppliers all have fixed tariffs coming to an end this month – and failing to switch could leave you a fortune worse off.
Ofgem’s rules allow customers to switch suppliers without paying exit fees from 42 days before their plan end date, so consumers are free to shop around without being penalised.
With so many bills set to rocket this month, it’s vital to act now to avoid being rolled onto sky-high tariffs.
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Enter your usage information – For the most accurate comparison results, you’ll also need to input your household’s consumption details. You can get those off your most recent energy bill.
Once you’ve picked your new energy supplier and plan, confirm the switch by providing your full address and bank details (if you’ve chosen a direct debit plan, which are usually the cheapest). We’ve got an more comprehensive guide on how to switch your energy supplier here .
Don’t forget that we also have our own switching service at Mirror.co.uk/energyhelpline where you can save on gas and electricity all year round.
Don’t block radiators: Avoid putting the sofa in front of the radiator as it will absorb a lot of heat, preventing it from warming up the rest of the house.
Make a rice sock: You can buy teddies filled with rice and lavender that you heat in the microwave for a minute or so as a hot water bottle alternative.
It’s a pretty efficient way of getting heat into something – certainly more energy efficient than boiling a kettle full of water. But instead of spending £20 on a shop bought one, fill a sock with rice and lavender, tie the end and you have your own hand warmer.
Shut the curtains: Keeping them closed is a clever – and easy – way to keep the warmth locked in. Consider investing in thermal curtains for the rooms you use the most.
They are not that expensive and if you don’t want to replace your current curtains you can just buy the thermal lining and attach it to your existing drapes. This alone can reduce heat loss by up to 25%.
Wrap up warm: It goes without saying but the more layers you have on, the warmer you’ll feel.
Bleed your radiator: ‘Bleeding radiators’ is when you let out air that has become trapped inside. Trapped air causes the radiators to have cold spots, reducing the efficiency of them. You can bleed your radiators yourself.
To do so, follow these steps – 1) Turn on the heating 2) Once your radiators are hot, go and check each one individually to see if all parts of the radiator are warming up 3) Switch off your central heating.
Attach your radiator key (you can buy one at your local hardware shop) to the square bit in the centre of your radiator’s valve. Slowly turn the radiator key anti-clockwise – if gas is escaping you’ll hear a hissing sound. Once there is no more gas, liquid will come out and the valve will need to be closed quickly.