ScottishPower rolls out longest fixed deal
ScottishPower has rolled out the longest fixed-price energy deal currently available.
At an average cost of £1,301 per year on average, customers who snap up the Fixed-Price Energy February 2016 deal will have the price they pay protected until the end of February 2016.
ScottishPower steals the longest fixed-price deal crown from npower, which wore it for just one day after launching its Price Fix December 2015 tariff yesterday.
ScottishPower's deal is also slightly cheaper than the npower fix, which costs £1,305 a year, on average.
Both tariffs' average costs are based on a customer using 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas, paying by direct debit in arrears and both come with early exit fees.
But if you're put off by such fees, the EDF Energy Blue + Price Promise February 2015 is fee-free if you decide to cancel early. It's also £109 cheaper than the Scottish Power deal, at an average cost of £1,192 a year, but the price is fixed for a year less.
Meanwhile, the cheapest variable tariff available is SSE's Discount Energy Bonus October 2014 (with paperless billing), at an average yearly cost of £1,146.
Shelter from price hikes
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: "The fact that suppliers are now tripping over themselves to offer competitively priced, long-term fixed-price plans is good news for those consumers looking for shelter from potential price hikes.
"There is a small premium to be paid, particularly for the very long-term plans. But many will still see this as a small price to pay for almost three years' protection from price hikes."
Over the winter, all of the Big Six energy suppliers announced price increases, upping the average annual bill by £100, compared to the previous year, to a record high of £1,400, according to energy comparison site energyhelpline.com.
If you're worried about your energy bills, here are a few tips to help you keep them down.
1. Shop around
It is always a good idea to check regularly that you are getting the best deal. Use a comparison site such as moneysupermarket.com or indeed moneywise.co.uk to track down the best rate.
If you have never switched provider you could stand to save around £330, according to energyhelpline.com.
2. Turn down the thermostat
Lowering your thermostat by just one degree could save you 3% a year. You could also save about £75 a year if you get into good habits such as turning off lights and washing clothes at 30°C, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
3. Insulate properly
If your home is properly insulated you can save up to 30% on your energy bill. The walls of your property are responsible for around one third of heat loss, so cut your bills by getting cavity wall insulation. For an average home, this costs between £100 and £350 but it can save the average family £135 a year on their bills.
“Arrears” tend to be associated with debt. If you fall behind and miss payments on any outstanding debt, the amount you failed to pay is an arrear – the amount accrued from the date on which the first missed payment was due.