Green Star Energy has this week launched the first "unlimited" gas and electricity tariff for two years, but is it worthwhile? And is it really unlimited? MoneySavingExpert.com analyses the deal.
The tariff, which is currently available to 15% of households in the UK but is planned to roll out across the entire UK from 5 October, unusually charges users the same amount each month regardless of any change in their usage.
The monthly charge depends on the region you live in,and your annual usage, which you have to state before your contract starts. Those with a higher annual usage, will pay more.
Based on the UK's average energy consumption, you'll pay £1,029/year (£86/month) if you live in the cheapest region (East Midlands) and £1,091/year (£91/month) in the most expensive region (Merseyside and North Wales).
This calculation also factors in a £15 annual dual fuel discount as well as a £15 paperless billing discount (£7.50 per fuel).
Currently, no other suppliers offer a tariff of this type and it's the first unlimited one we've seen since Eon's Staywarm tariff disappeared in 2013.
In comparison, with other tariffs, households pay a set amount per kWh unit of gas or electricity, which means the amount they pay overall can fluctuate depending on how much energy is used.
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Who can get the tariff?
The tariff is only available to those who meet all of the following conditions:
- Dual fuel customers on a single rate or economy 7 electricty meter (this is indicated on your bill or on your meter itself).
- Those who use between 2,200 kWh to 4,200 kWh of electricity and between 10,500 to 16,500 kWh of gas annually, although no proof of this will be requested.
- Those who pay by monthly direct debit.
- Those who provide a meter reading at least every 60 days. Those who don't meet this meter reading requirement will be given a chance to do so, but if they still don't they may be moved onto Green Star's standard variable tariff.
Energy regulator Ofgem says households across the UK use on average 3,100 kWh of electricity and 12,500 kWh of gas. So the majority should fall within Green Star Energy's bands.
Gas only, electricity only, economy 10, and prepayment customers can't get the tariff.
So is it really unlimited?
Green Star Energy says it's an "unlimited" tariff, meaning you can use as much energy as you like while still paying the same price.
However in reality, if your usage creeps above or below its electricity and gas limits, it says it will contact you and ask you to amend your usage. If you don't, it says it will consider moving you onto its likely more expensive standard variable tariff.
If you fail to warn Green Star Energy about significant changes to your energy usage within seven days of them occurring, you may also face being transferred onto its standard tariff. It gives examples of this as being a change in the number of people living in your home or if you install a swimming pool.
How does the tariff compare to others?
It's possible Green Star Energy's unlimited tariff will work out cheaper than other deals for those who use around the top end of its energy usage limits. However, it's considerably more expensive then the current best buys see the table below for a comparison.
Energy prices also always vary depending on where you live and how much energy you use, so to get the best tariff for your needs, always do a comparison before switching. You can join our free Cheap Energy Club to do so.
|TARIFF||SUPPLIER||FIXED UNTIL||EXIT FEE||COST/YR|
|Avg big 6 standard tariff||-||Variable||-||£1,095|
|Cheapest open market variable||GB Energy||Variable||-||£831|
|Cheapest open market fix||Extra Energy||30 Dec 2016||£25/fuel||£841|
|Green Star unlimited tariff||Green Star Energy||12 months||£30/fuel||£1,055|
|Tariffs correct at 25 Sep 2015. Based on UK typical dual fuel usage and payment by monthly direct debit.|
Act now to cut bills
Ultimately, to cut your energy bill:
- Do a price comparison via our free Cheap Energy Club (which also gives up to £30 cashback if you switch) to see if you can save. Before switching, check first if you'll be charged any early exit fees and factor this into the overall savings.
- If possible, pay by monthly direct debit, and give your provider regular meter readings to keep bills accurate.
- Check if you can cut your usage using our Free Insulation and Energy Mythbusting guides.