What is dual fuel energy?

·6-min read

If you are looking to save money on your energy bills by switching to a new supplier, one of the decisions you will need to make is whether to go for two separate tariffs for your gas and electricity, or a ‘dual fuel’ tariff.

With the former, you get your energy from two different suppliers. With the latter, both types of energy are wrapped together under one contract, and managed by one single supplier.

Here we take a closer look.

What are the upsides of a dual fuel tariff?

Just one bill: one of the big advantages of a bundled tariff is the fact you only get one bill. This can make it a lot easier to manage and control your energy account and means less paperwork and admin.

One point of contact: another big advantage of a dual fuel tariff is the fact you have just one point of contact for both your gas and electricity. This can be a real help if you have any queries or if anything goes wrong. Dealing with two suppliers can be a lot more time-consuming and involve a lot more hassle.

Can work out cheaper: getting both your gas and electricity from the same supplier is because it can often be cheaper than having two separate tariffs with two different providers.

You may find there is a discount for doubling up with the same company. In some cases, you may even get a cash-back perk per dual fuel switch.

Are dual-fuel tariffs always cheaper?

That said, while dual fuel tariffs can often work out cheaper for some households, you need to compare deals carefully and do your sums. In some cases, you could save money by splitting out the two fuels, either with the same supplier or with one for each fuel.

Do all energy suppliers offer dual fuel deals?

The vast majority do. Some of the smaller firms only offer one type of fuel.

How do I check if I have a single or dual fuel tariff?

The easiest way is to look at your most recent bill - it will have details of your tariff printed on it. And if you’ve got separate bills for gas and energy, then you can be pretty certain that you’ve got one tariff for electricity and one for energy.

Which is the cheapest dual fuel tariff?

You’ll only know which is the absolute cheapest dual fuel tariff for your household by running a quotation on a comparison service such as ours. Prices vary according to where you live and the type of property you occupy.

That said, we’ve done some research into the cheapest dual fuel deals available at the moment for average households, which you can find here. It shows that fixed price dual fuel tariffs start at around £942 a year, while variable rate tariffs start at around £858 a year.

Rank

Supplier

Tariff Name

Type

Cost

1

Spark Energy

Tili Select Saver - Sept 2021

Fixed

£1,066.86

2

Utility Warehouse

Double Gold

Variable

£1,081.25

3

ScottishPower

Greener Future April 2022 IM2

Fixed

£1,089.98

4

ScottishPower

Exclusive Green Fixed Price May 2022 SM1

Fixed

£1,090.09

5

Entice Energy

Flexible Saver v3

Variable

£1,103.63

6

Utility Warehouse

Gold

Variable

£1,109.71

7

Affect Energy

Affect Standard Tariff

Variable

£1,125.69

8

Co-op Energy

Co-op Flexible

Variable

£1,125.69

9

Ebico Living

Ebico Standard

Variable

£1,125.69

10

Octopus Energy

Flexible Octopus

Variable

£1,125.69

Cheapest deals based on dual fuel tariffs for an Ofgem-defined ‘medium user’, paying by monthly direct debit. Note, these may not be available in every region of the UK. Source: Comparison Technologies, correct as of 22 September 2021.

What to watch out for…

Check on exit fees: Before signing up to a dual fuel tariff, it’s worth checking out if there are any exit fees. Exit fees – or cancellation charges – are fees levied for leaving a fixed-rate plan early.

With some dual fuel fixed-rate deals, you may find there is an exit fee of £30 ‘per fuel’. If this is the case, you’d face a total of £60 for leaving the supplier ahead of time.

You’ll need to factor this in if you find yourself wanting to move to a cheaper tariff further down the line, ahead of the planned end date.

Does it require a smart meter? Some energy tariffs require you to have a smart meter, and this can include some dual fuel tariffs. If you don’t already have one of these meters, you will need to get one fitted. The good news is, your new supplier will organise this for you.

A smart meter displays energy usage on a device, showing it in pounds and pence in near-real time. One of these devices can help you take control of your energy consumption, helping you to cut back – and thereby reduce bills.

Devices also send information on your gas and electricity directly to your energy provider. Smart meters are currently being rolled out to homes in Great Britain, and Government rules state that energy firms must offer devices to all homes in England, Scotland and Wales by mid-2025.

Switching to a dual-fuel deal should be simple

If you are looking to save money on your outgoings by switching your energy to a dual fuel tariff, the good news is, the process should be very simple. In fact, it should only take around five minutes to start saving on your gas and electricity bills.

Run a comparison of dual fuel tariffs available to you, through a comparison site. You will first need to enter your postcode and a few details to find the most suitable quotes.

Compare factors such as cost and possible exit fees for leaving a fixed-rate plan early. Once you have selected a tariff the supplier will take over the energy switch.

Will there be any interruption to my service?

When switching energy supplier to either a dual fuel tariff or two different suppliers, there’s no need to worry about disruption to your supply, as you’ll get the same gas and electricity through the same pipes and wires.

The onus is on your new provider to organise the transfer. You’ll also have a 14-day cooling off period should you change your mind.

Other ways to save on energy

As well as switching to a new firm and opting for a dual fuel tariff, there are several other simple steps you can take to keep a lid on the cost of your gas and electricity bills.

  • Opt for a fixed-rate tariff. Generally speaking, fixed tariffs are cheaper than default or standard variable tariffs

  • Check out ‘online-only’ tariffs. With this type of deal, you will not get sent any paper bills. These can often be among the cheapest deals

  • Pay by direct debit. It is usually cheaper to pay by monthly direct debit than to pay quarterly by cheque or cash, which can trigger and admin fee

  • Invest in an energy monitor. You may be able to pick up a basic model for less than £20. Once you’ve got one, you could save up to 15% on your yearly fuel bills, thanks to improved awareness of usage, according to the Energy Saving Trust

  • Be more energy efficient. Take steps to use less energy around the home, such as turning your thermostat down by 1 degree Celsius, switching lights off when you leave a room, moving to energy-saving lightbulbs, and not leaving gadgets or appliances on standby. Other tips include getting draught excluders for your doors, putting draught-proofing strips on your windows, and only boiling the amount of water you need in the kettle, rather than filling it to the brim.

Read More

Best cheap energy deals: fixed rate and variable rate energy offers September 2021

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