Fixed-price energy deals start to climb
EDF Energy has today launched the longest fixed-price energy deal on the market, a three-year fix enabling customers to lock in the price they pay until the end of November 2016 and comes with no exit fees.
But while it's good news for those who like certainty, the Blue + Price Freeeeze November 2016 fix will cost £1,350 a year on average. That's £32 a year more than npower's Price Fix September 2016, which was previously the longest fix on the market. And it's a whopping £215 more than the cheapest fixed deal available – the Flow Energy's Thames Fixed Online Sept 2014 – although the EDF tariff provides more than two extra years' certainty.
The plan is only £3 a year cheaper than the average standard plan for customers paying by cash or cheque, according to uSwitch.com, which is one of the most expensive ways to pay for energy.
However, customers happy to go for deals lasting a shorter time could consider other competitive short and mid-term fixed price plans available for a fraction of the cost. The cheapest deal is currently Flow Energy's Thames Fixed Online Sept 2014, which is fixed until September 2014 and costs £1,135 a year – that's £215 cheaper than the new EDF fix. It does, however, come with a £30 cancellation fee per fuel.
They could also go for EDF's other new fix, also launched today, the Energy Blue + Price Promise September 2014. It costs £1,210 a year, which makes it £140 cheaper than its September 2016 counterpart, and it also comes without cancellation fees.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: "Fixed-price plans have increasingly dominated the best buy tables offering competitive prices, good guarantees and often no exit penalties. But with the premium to fix starting to creep back in, alarm bells are ringing and the decision to fix is starting to become more of a gamble for the cost-conscious consumer.
"It is now more important than ever that consumers heed this warning and ensure that they are looking into all options and moving to a tariff that best suits their needs. If they are willing to pay a premium for long-term price security then EDF Energy's new offering could be the answer to their prayers. However, there are also a number of short and mid-term fixed price plans which offer the best of both worlds – security without the initial extra cost."