Other Types of Energy Tariff:
Dual-fuel tariffs or plans are energy contracts where both electricity and gas come from the same supplier.
Why choose a Dual-fuel tariff?
- Grouping electricity and gas under the same supplier make life simpler and energy cheaper.
- The advantages of dual-fuel tariffs depend on how extensive your supplier comparison is.
About Dual-fuel tariffs
Most households in the UK use both electricity and gas and dual-fuel tariffs are meant to simplify energy customers’ account management by grouping both electricity and gas under the same supplier. Interestingly, the majority of energy customers have separate suppliers for electricity and gas, though this trend is changing somewhat.
Being on a dual-fuel tariff does not affect your options as an energy customer, however:
- Dual-fuel tariffs allow for both variable and fixed prices
- Dual-fuel tariffs allow for both online and offline account management
- Dual-fuel tariffs allow for both payment on receipt of bill and monthly/quarterly direct debits
If you are interested in signing up to a dual-fuel tariff, it is advisable to compare suppliers first to see what plan is best suited to your needs and your budget.
Estimated annual costs for an average UK household (3,200 kWh per year for electricity and 13,500 kWh for gas) average £1,150 across the UK and range from £943 (First:Utility, Eastern England) to £1,335 (Ebico, Merseyside and Northern Wales) as of June 2014.
Advantages and disadvantages of dual-fuel tariffs
Dual-fuel tariffs simplicity and savings
- It is convenient to group both electricity and gas into one bill, especially if you have an online energy plan where meter readings are submitted online and bills are emailed to you.
- It is simple to have one supplier to contact, instead of two, should you have a complaint. This means calling one number or complaining to one address.
- Energy suppliers offer annual discounts to customers who buy both electricity and gas from them. However, dual-fuel discounts do not usually exceed £20 per year.
- Dual-fuel plans can lead to significant savings if you compare suppliers carefully, especially if combined with online account management and direct debit payments.
Dual-fuel tariffs are only advantageous with the right supplier
Though dual-fuel tariffs can lead to significant savings, they are not necessarily the cheapest option: often, having different suppliers for electricity and gas is even cheaper than a dual-fuel tariff after an extensive comparison. For example, signing up with First:Utility for electricity and with Daligas for gas is cheaper than signing up with First:Utility or Flow Energy (often the two cheapest suppliers) on a dual-fuel tariff.
An incomplete dual-fuel tariff comparison may also lead to choosing an energy supplier with disappointing customer service. In this case, dual-fuel tariffs can be a true hassle if customer care can be reached neither for electricity or for gas issues, and if electricity and gas complaints are both handled slowly by the same supplier. Hence the importance of comparing suppliers at length and picking not only the cheapest but the most reliable.
If you are on a dual-fuel tariff with a fixed unit rate for electricity and gas, early exit fees might deter you from switching suppliers if a better offer comes up on the market. For example, Sainsbury’s Energy (Fixed Price April 2016), British Gas (Fixed Price January 2017) and npower (Intelligent Fix April 2017) all charge a £50 early exit fee per fuel.