Gas and electricity energy plans – what are they?

There are a good number of energy suppliers all offering their gas and electricity through a variety of energy plans – basically these are different ways of pricing their energy supplies.

Energy plansYou can compare energy plans using online comparison websites such as uSwitch.com and Moneysupermarket.com.

We’ll now look at the different types of plan to help understand what’s available.

Standard energy plan – Each energy supplier will have a standard energy plan, sometimes referred to as their default plan. This is the price structure that the supplier will put you on if you haven’t chosen another plan. Invariably this will not be the cheapest plan.

Dual fuel plans and single fuel plans – Quite simply, a dual fuel plan is one whereby you buy gas and electricity from the same supplier.

A single fual plan is where you buy either gas or electricity from an energy supplier, but don’t buy both from the same supplier.

To entice you to use them, a supplier will invariably offer discounts and better rates for dual fuel plans.

Capped plans – the price of the energy will not rise above an agreed amount over a defined period. If the price goes down during the period, those on a capped energy plan benefit.

Economy 7 – cheaper rate electricity used at night.

Fixed energy plans – the energy price is fixed for a defined period. If the price goes down during the period, unlike with capped plans, those on fixed energy plans will not benefit.

Green or renewable energy plans – designed to help fight against climate change.

Online plans – Invariably the cheapest plans as the energy suppliers are keen to reduce their administration overheads. Discounts are offered for signing up online and managing your energy bills and account online, as well as paying by direct debit.

Social plans – these are for those that struggle to buy their energy. Suppliers must provide social plans to support such people and the pricing must be equal to the best deal the supplier has.

There are also prepayment meters which are for customers to ‘pay as you go’ for their energy supply.

Often to get the best energy deal a number of plans are combined.

It really is worth regulalry checking what’s available and switching energy supplier if appropriate to get the best deal for your needs.

Be aware though of any tie-in periods on fixed rate or capped plans as there may be a fee if you opt-out before the end of this time.

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