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Energy price war is on

Patrick Christys
Nov 7, 2019

The energy price war is on.

British Gas is looking to close the gap between the Big Six and smaller suppliers, launching its lowest price tariff since 2016.

The Energy and Boiler Cover Green Nov2020v4 dual-fuel fixed tariff costs an average of £897 – £33 more than Outfox the Market's variable tariff, the cheapest currently on the market. 

However, this low price is only available to customers who have a smart meter already or agree to have one installed. 

For those without a smart meter, the price soars to £1,177 – just below the price cap limit.

It is not just British Gas lowering their prices. For the firs time in a while, numerous Big Six tariffs have entered the best buy tables with Scottish Power, Npower, Eon and EDF all featuring. 

A British Gas spokesperson said: 'We refresh our tariffs and offer new fixed rate deals all the time, it's a competitive market and we always aim to be competitive.' 

The reason for the substantial drop in price is thanks to the recent drop in wholesale costs over the past couple of weeks.

A Cornwall Insight analyst said that between the 1 October and 6 November, the price on 6 November is the lowest in this period and looking back at the same time period over the last three years this is still the lowest. 

However, it is not certain that prices will stay low in the coming weeks, which is why customers are encouraged to sign up to the cheaper deals while they can, with far colder weather approaching. 

Scottish Power just pips British Gas to the post to be named as the cheapest Big Six tariff.

The supplier's Super Saver November 2020 B9 fixed tariff is £895 a year – just £2 cheaper than British Gas' new deal and again requires a smart meter to be installed. Without, the price rises to £1,178.  

Meanwhile, Eon is just behind British Gas with their fixed tariff, Fix Online Exclusive v15, which comes in at an average of £905 a year for those with smart meters and £1,177 for those without.

EDF is next with their Simply Online May21v7 tariff costing £908 for smart meter holders and £1,177 for everyone else.

Smart meter holders get significant discounts as the energy suppliers are under mounting pressure to offer their customers the devices and reach their annual targets.

If they fail to do this, they could be fined thousands by Ofgem, the energy watchdog.  

Despite offering up some great new deals, the Big Six are still not quite top of the best buys table.

Instead, Outfox the Market are still the cheapest average deal costing £864 a month on their One Variable 7.0 tariff. Green Energy are then just above at £867 on their Oak tariff. 

Neither deals require a smart meter installed unlike British Gas' offering, which could tempt a number of people away from the Big Six company. 

Will Owen, energy expert at uSwitch, said: 'With the arrival of colder weather, the big energy suppliers are looking to attract new customers with some of the lowest prices we have seen since 2016.

'However, the lowest priced tariffs do have smart meter requirements; some require the property to have a smart meter installed, others require customers to agree to be contacted about smart meter installation, which is not something everyone wants.

'Many of the cheapest deals can be switched to straight away if you already have a smart meter at your property.'

Customers looking to switch to a more competitive rate are advised to use price comparison websites to see what deals are available.  

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