Gas: how to compare prices and get the best deal

·6-min read
 (Unsplash)
(Unsplash)

If you haven’t switched your gas supplier for a while, you could potentially save hundreds of pounds by moving to a more competitive new deal.

Comparing gas prices – and finding a new tariff – should only take you a matter of minutes.

What’s more, thanks to the Energy Switch Guarantee, the whole switch should be completed within 21 days. Here we take a closer look at what’s involved.

How to shop around for a new deal

It’s easy to carry out a price comparison of gas tariffs with a few simple details.

It can also help to have a bill to hand, as you will need to provide the following information:

  • Postcode

  • Current gas supplier

  • Current tariff

  • Current gas usage – either in kilowatt hours (kWh) per year / monthly spend

If you don’t have the exact details, you should still be able to run a quote based on estimates. Once you’ve done this, you will be shown a list of potential gas tariffs to switch to – along with details of how much each one could save you each year.

Tips when choosing a tariff

  • Go through the results carefully and see how the different options stack up

  • Decide on the type of tariff you want. With a fixed tariff, the amount you pay remains unchanged for the duration of the term – typically 12 months. Note, though, that fixed tariffs can come with exit fees if you leave before the end of the term

  • Don’t automatically opt for the cheapest gas tariff if there are features that are more important to you, such as having a plan with green credentials or excellent customer service

  • Don’t automatically discount gas tariffs from the smaller, challenger brands. These firms often have some of the cheapest deals, as well as some of the higher customer service ratings

  • Be aware that some tariffs will require you to have a smart meter fitted. This isn’t an issue, as your supplier will arrange this for you. In fact, as all households must be offered one of these meters by mid-2025, this could be a useful way to get one

How to proceed

Once you’ve compared gas prices and found the tariff you want to switch to, scour the terms and conditions. If you’re happy with all the details – including things such as exit fees – the next step is to confirm you’d like to proceed.

At this stage, you’ll need to provide your full address and bank details – and how you’d like to pay. Paying by monthly direct debit is usually cheapest.

Top 10 cheapest gas-only deals

Supplier

Tariff

Price per annum (£)*

Ebico Living

Ebico Standard April 2021 v1

£427.71

Daligas

daligas One Standard Advance 21

£439.00

SSE

SSE Fix and Fibre v3 Paper Billing

£471.40

SSE

SSE Fix and Fibre v3 Paperless Billing

£471.40

Utility Warehouse

Double Gold

£472.81

ScottishPower

Exclusive Green Fixed Price May 2022 SM1

£473.66

PFP Energy

Simple Clear Paperless

£475.04

EDF Energy

Better Together Aug22

£477.81

EDF Energy

More Together Aug22

£477.81

Zog Energy

Mercury 12 v48

£478.15

*Prices per annum based on single 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. Prices as at 31/08/21. Source: Comparison Technologies

How long will it take?

Under the Energy Switch Guarantee, which promises a safety and speedy move from one supplier to another, the whole transfer should only take 21 days.

This includes a 14-day cooling-off period during which you can change your mind and stop the switch without penalty. If you want to do this, you’ll need to let the new supplier know within those 14 days,

Will there be any interruption to my service?

The good news is, when you switch, you still get the same gas through the same pipes – just at a lower price than previously – so there won’t be any disruption to your supply.

Better still, it’s down to the new provider to take care of the switch and arrange a date for the transfer to happen. So, once you’ve done your research and chosen your new gas tariff, there’s nothing else to do but sit back and wait for things to happen.

What if something goes wrong?

Under rules announced a few years ago by regulator, Ofgem, if you face problems during the switch, you should be compensated with a £30 payment.

Compensation should be paid automatically for issues such as the process taking more than 15 working days (following the 14-day cooling off period), or not receiving your final bill within six weeks of leaving your old gas supplier.

If you don’t receive the payment you are entitled to, contact either your old or new provider.

Don’t forget to check out dual-fuel tariffs

While it’s possible to just switch gas tariffs, if you also have an electricity supply that you have given attention to recently, it might also be worth checking out ‘dual-fuel tariffs.’

This is where one provider supplies both your gas and your electricity under the same contract, and it can often work out cheaper. In addition, opting for a dual-fuel tariff can be more efficient as you only have to deal with one provider.

That said, it’s important to compare both dual-fuel tariffs and single tariffs as everybody uses gas and electricity differently, according to their home and its occupants.

The key is to find the best deal for your individual circumstances.

I’m on a pre-payment meter – can I still switch?

As a pre-payment customer, you pay for your gas before you use it with a pre-loaded card, key or app.

It is possible to switch to a new deal, but it’s worth noting that pre-payment tariffs tend to be a lot less competitive than tariffs where you pay in arrears.

With this in mind, you may be able to save more by finding out if you can switch to a credit meter – and then opting to pay your bills by direct debit.

What if I’m in a rental property?

If you rent your home – as opposed to owning it – you can still switch your gas provider, as long as the account is held in your name. Even so, it’s advisable to speak to your landlord about your plans before you go ahead.

And if your landlord pays the bills, you will need to ask them if it’s possible to make the switch to a cheaper deal.

Doesn’t the energy cap mean I’m already paying a good price for my gas?

While the price cap – which applies to standard or default tariffs – offers some limited protection against unfair costs, it’s not an effective tool for bringing bills down.

The best way to lower energy costs is by shopping around and comparing tariffs – and being willing to switch.

By moving to a low-cost fixed gas tariff, you can lock in savings that are already greater than the price cap will deliver.

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