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U.K. Guide to Electricity Tariffs

With energy costs seemingly rising all the time, U.K. consumers want to make sure that they are getting the best deal from their choice of electricity suppliers. But how do you tell which of the electricity suppliers offers the best deal for your household and how does one decipher the multitude of different energy tariffs that bill payers are presented with?

The following guide should help to take some of the mystery out of the complicated energy bills maze, and enable consumers to navigate through their choice of electricity suppliers.

Dual-fuel tariffs:

These offer a discount to customers who get both their gas and electricity from the same supplier. They can often be combined with other discounts – such as those offered for handling bills online rather than on paper – and make managing bills a little bit easier.

Economy 7:

This offers a discount for fuel used overnight (usually the seven hours between 12 and 7am or 1-8am), which makes it useful if the household is heated by night storage heaters. To make any saving, around half of the total fuel needs to be used at night – so dishwashers and tumble dryers could be on a timer so that they start during the allotted time.

Economy 10:

Not all electricity suppliers offer this tariff, which discounts energy used at certain times during the day, evening and night – adding up to 10 hours, hence the name. It requires a special kind of meter to be installed, as does Economy 7.

Feed-in tariffs:

Both communities and households that generate electricity (via solar panels for instance) can claim payments for the energy they produce in a low-carbon manner – payments depend on what sort of technology is used. As well as being paid to create electricity, households can also ‘sell’ back any electricity they don’t use to electricity suppliers.

Fixed energy tariffs:

Rather like a fixed-rate mortgage, householders who choose this method will pay a fixed rate for their gas and electricity prices for a certain period of time. This means that they will not be hit by price hikes – but nor will they benefit if electricity suppliers drop their prices. Again, like a fixed-rate mortgage, a fee may be payable if the bill payer wants to leave the scheme before the fixed period is finished and the costs of electricity and gas will be slightly higher than the average – around 20 per cent in some cases.