When switching to a new energy supplier, you are asked for your gas and electricity details. Whilst you are free to choose one supplier for gas and another for electricity, each energy supplier would rather you chose them for both.
Dual Fuel deals promise us greater convenience and a saving on our energy bills. If you have ever used a price comparison site, or visited an energy supplier’s website, you will have stumbled across the term ‘dual fuel’. But what exactly is it? Will it really save you money and is it a more convenient way to manage energy bills?
So, what is it?
A dual fuel deal is an energy supplier’s way of securing you as a customer for gas and electricity. Sometimes known as a dual fuel plan, most energy companies will offer at least one of these deals with a discount. This, at least in theory, means that you will be able to manage your energy accounts easier and save money.
Will I save money with a dual fuel discount?
A dual fuel discount will not always save you money. The energy market is very competitive right now so you must always take advantage of price comparisons before you switch. This is the best way to guarantee you are getting the best overall deal.
A lot will depend on the type of deal you want to go for. If you are considering a standard variable deal over a fixed tariff you are unlikely to find the cheapest option. Even with a dual fuel discount applied, a standard variable deal will tend to be more expensive than a fixed term tariff. Although a standard variable deal has its own advantages, to get the absolute best savings from a dual fuel discount it is best to look at fixed deals.
Not all dual fuel deals offer a discount, so it is important to make sure you read the terms and conditions. The discount is also often dependent on you agreeing to some other terms. This varies between suppliers but can include using an online only account and paying by direct debit. Usually, the discount is applied to your bill and typically gets set around 5%. Again, some energy suppliers will offer a better discount and others will be lower.
To maximise your chances of getting the best deal on the market, always use a price comparison site. If you are on a variable tariff, now is the time to look for a cheaper deal. If you are in the last two months of a fixed term deal, again now is the time to start looking. You are likely to find the best deal; if you consider a fixed term contract over 12 or 24 months, can manage your account entirely online, pay by direct debit and use the same supplier for gas and electricity. Then look for companies that offer a dual fuel discount and you will now be seeing the best deals currently on the market.
Is it more convenient?
Everything to do with your energy usage is now centralised. You will only need to remember one password, call one provider, have one direct debit etc. This can certainly make things easier to manage, especially if you use a website or App. In these cases, your bills, energy usage and help are all available in the same place for your gas and electricity.
Managing one payment compared to two will obviously be more convenient. So, for most customers, a dual fuel account will be easier to manage than using two separate energy suppliers.
Does a dual fuel discount affect when I can switch?
The process for switching is no different. If you are on a fixed term deal then exit fees may apply if you wish to switch early. This will apply to any other type of fixed deal but is an important point. Taking advantage of a dual fuel discount should be considered against any potential exit fees. If you aren’t sure that you can commit to the full fixed term, it is worth calculating if the exit fee will wipe out any savings you might have made.
Whether you are on a fixed or variable deal, the dual fuel discount applied to your account won’t affect switching.
If you are a dual fuel customer the switching process can actually be much easier. This is because both your gas and electricity will be up for renewal at the same time. If you agree with the rest of the terms and conditions of a deal, then the dual fuel discount is good news. This will last for the entire length of your contract, so no nasty surprises half way through. In exchange for your custom for both supplies, you will be receiving money off your bills.