Eight tips for choosing best energy tariff

Hand switching on a light switch

When it comes to choosing your energy tariff, do you know your dual fuel from single fuel? Fixed rate from variable rate? And what about the type of meter you have? These common energy terms can determine what tariff is best for you. And best doesn't always mean the cheapest because your energy use is unique to you. 

Here are eight handy tips to help you switch to the best energy deal for you. 

If you know what you're looking for, then get your electricity and gas quote

1. What is dual fuel energy and is it better?

A dual fuel tariff means you get both gas and electricity from one supplier. Single fuel means you get just one of either gas or electricity from one supplier. So you could have two suppliers – one for gas and one for electricity. The most common combination of fuel in people’s homes is gas and electricity.

The helpful thing with dual fuel tariff is that it's easier to manage your energy account as everything is in one place and any queries can be sorted by one contact. Sometimes, you can also get extra discounts when taking both electricity and gas from the same supplier. 


2. The pros and cons of fixed rate energy tariffs

These will have a set price for the energy you use over a certain time period – often one to two years. Suppliers will normally offer lower prices for these tariffs because you’re making a commitment to them. Some even offer some nice features when you sign up, such as smart home tech or boiler insurance. 


Fixed tariff pros:

  • You’ll pay the same rate for the amount of time you're on the tariff

  • You won't be affected by price rises

  • You usually get a lower price

  • You’re not constantly shopping around for the best deal


Fixed tariff cons:

  • If energy prices go down, your price will stay the same
  • There are sometimes fees (known as exit fees) if you want to leave your tariff earlier than the contract end date
  • You might be looking at a more expensive deal when your fixed rate period comes to an end

3. The pros and cons of standard variable rate energy tariff

If you don’t mind prices going up or down and are prepared to shop around more regularly, a standard variable rate could be your best option.

These tariffs will track the market rate for the energy you pay. Most suppliers will let you know in plenty of time if these prices change. When that happens you can decide if you’d like to switch, usually with no exit fee.


Standard variable tariff pros:

  • You’ll be the first to benefit from price decreases
  • No exit fees

Standard variable tariff cons:

  • Energy price rises will affect you
  • You’ll have to pay different amounts in line with market price changes
  • There are rarely any special offers or deals available



4. Your energy meter type and tariffs

Another thing that could determine the tariffs available to you is whether you have a prepayment, standard or smart meter.


Prepayment meter energy tariffs

If you have a prepayment meter, also knows as top-up meter, there may be fewer tariffs available to you. Some suppliers may not even have any energy deals for prepayment meters. Be sure to have a look at our prepayment tariffs.  


Standard meter energy tariffs

These are the most common types of meters in the UK and won't restrict what kind of tariff you can get. They generally mean you'll get billed monthly for the amount you use or an estimate of what you use. In order to get the most accurate bill, you'll usually need to send regular meter readings to your energy supplier.

Picking a new tariff with a smart meter

Smart meters help you manage your energy better, mainly because you get a monitor that shows you how and when you're using your energy. They also automatically send meter readings to the supplier.

Having a smart meter won't restrict what tariff you can have. If you're switching suppliers, however, make sure your smart meter can still work in the smart mode although most of the time, you should be fine. Sometimes you may even find a tariff that's specific to smart meters only. 


5. Online-only energy deals

Make the most of online-only energy tariffs which will often give you the best deals. Online-only tariffs mean cheaper prices because you don't need to use call centre support and your bills are all online. It's easier for you to manage your energy too as you can access your account from anywhere 24/7. 

If you switch to EDF, you can access your energy details through MyAccount, where you can see your tariff details and bills, switch your tariffs and submit meter readings. 


6. Choice of energy bill payments

Setting up a Direct Debit makes things easy for you because you won’t have to remember to contact your supplier each time you need to pay. The supplier will also estimate your energy use and spread the cost into equal monthly payments, avoiding large payments in winter.

Sometimes, you may even get a cheaper energy deal paying this way. Find out more about how your energy Direct Debit works, how the bill is reviewed and why it's easier to manage payment. 


7. Electricity tariff for your electric car

There's now a good selection of electric tariffs for EVs and some are very competitive. Consider when you're most likely to charge your car at home and look at tariffs that offer cheaper electricity when it suits you and your needs. This may seem a bit more complicated than your traditional home tariff but really, it's just thinking more about how you use your energy and choosing a tariff that works for you. It's definitely worth it! 

Have a look at our GoElectric tariffs for EV owners


8. Green energy credentials

Most energy companies are investing in renewable, green or zero carbon energy. This should be important to all of us, as we're looking to reduce the UK carbon emissions to zero. However, some of these claims may be less 'green' than others and the energy you actually get may not necessarily be what it seems. So make sure you look into what it is a supplier is actually offering. 

Here are EDF all our tariffs are back by zero carbon electricity as standard(1). So the best kind of tariff is one that suits you and your lifestyle and energy use.