British Gas £345/yr saving (existing custs too)

 

While E.on, SSE & now Scottish Power have announced price cuts to their standard tariffs, these are trivial, leaving most still overpaying £300/yr+. It only takes 5 mins to slash the amount you pay for gas & electricity, then it's switched over in just 17 days - perfect for lowering bills this winter.

Today, to take it up a notch, we're launching our 4th MSE collective switch, where a trusted intermediary (eg, a council or us) gets firms to bid to provide special deals not available direct. Our huge 11m email recipients & 1.9m Cheap Energy Club members mean ours smash even the market's cheapest for most. Here are tweets from our last one...

Chris: "Just switched gas & electricity with @MartinSLewis' Cheap Energy Club and saved over £460/year. Thanks for the tip."

Smiffy: "Got quote on other sites, came here, saved an extra £397/yr. Ta."

Martin Lewis
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Are you eligible for Big Switch 4?

Ofgem rules now mean we need to pre-register people for collective switches (not in Northern Ireland). You need to have been on the distribution list for this email or our Cheap Energy Club before 1 Feb. How do I check if I can get it? Use our Can I get the collective? checker. Or for speed go straight to the Cheap Energy Club comparison and if you can get the collective it'll be in your results.

What if I'm not eligible? You can still save large (just not quite as much) - there's no point waiting, every day of overpaying costs. Many can still save £100s, so use our Top Picks Comparison to see what you can get.

I'm eligible - can I change my email? First use the registered email and click to switch with the collective, then when signing up with the energy firm you can give it a different email (if you want, return after switching and change your registered email with the Cheap Energy Club).

Winner 1: Cheapest dual fuel. 100,000 special British Gas £345/yr cheaper tariff.

It's not often the UK's largest supplier competes on price, but this MSE British Gas 12-month tariff saves someone with typical bills on a big 6 standard tariff £345/yr. And yes, EXISTING BRITISH GAS CUSTOMERS CAN GET IT TOO (as can Sainsbury's Energy customers). Key facts...

- You also get £30 dual fuel cashback from Cheap Energy Club.
- It's available for dual fuel (gas & elec together) incl Eco 7 dual fuel.
- It is capped at 100,000 switches. That's a lot, but to be safe go soon.
- You must opt to pay by monthly direct debit.
- Leave early and there's a £30 exit fee per fuel.
- As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 1yr.
- If you move home you can take it with you.
- Existing BG & Sainsbury's Energy custs can switch to it with no exit fee regardless of their tariff, and you get the £30 cashback.

How it compares for someone with typical usage
Avg price on Ofgem typical dual fuel direct-debit use (varies by region)

Typical cost: Current average of big six standard tariffs: £1,089/yr
Typical cost: British Gas standard tariff: £1,075/yr
MSE Special: MSE BG fix: £744/yr + £30 cashback (exit fees £60)
Next cheapest fix: GB Energy 12mth fix: £765/yr - no exit fee

Get YOUR EXACT PRICE & saving via a full market comparison


- Good for you if: 1) You want the cheapest deal. 2) You're with BG & don't want to change firm. 3) You're OK to switch again in 12mths (if not see winner 2).

- Not for you if: 1) You only want electricity. 2) You want to be able to switch again penalty-free within the year.

- How's customer service? British Gas scored 38% 'great' and 28% 'poor' in our Nov 2015 poll - but as part of this collective we've arranged for it to provide boosted customer service resources for our switch.

Winner 2: Cheapest THREE-WINTER fix. Green Star - switch & forget.

If you're not the type to play the market and just want a long-term cheap deal, the MSE Green Star 36mth fix is a corker, as once you get it the rate is locked in for 3 years from the date you're switched over.

- You also get £30 dual fuel cashback from Cheap Energy Club.
- It's available for dual fuel, gas-only & elec-only, incl Economy 7.
- You can opt to pay by monthly direct debit or costlier quarterly cash / cheque / direct debit.
- Leave early and there's a £25 exit fee per fuel.
- As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 3yrs.
- Existing custs can get it without paying an exit fee.
- If you move home you cannot take it with you.

How it compares for someone with typical usage
Avg price on Ofgem typical dual fuel direct-debit use (varies by region)

Typical cost: Current average of big six standard tariffs: £1,089/yr
MSE Special: Green Star 36mth: £876/yr + £30 cashback (early exit £25/fuel)
Next cheapest 3yr fix: SSE 3yr fix: £1,068/yr - £25/fuel exit fee

Get YOUR EXACT PRICE & saving via a full market comparison


- Good for you if: 1) You don't usually switch & often forget, as do this now & you needn't act again until 2019. 2) You're worried about future price hikes & prefer to bag the certainty of a long-term cheap price.

- Not for you if: 1) You just want the cheapest price. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free. 3) You may move home soon.

- How's customer service? We only had limited feedback (45 votes) on Green Star in our Nov 2015 poll but what we had was good - 67% 'great' and 13% 'poor'. Green Star has featured in our previous Big Switch Events and we've had few reported problems, and we've set up boosted customer service.

Winner 3: Cheapest GREEN tariff. 1,000 Bulb 100% renewable tariff plus £12.50/fuel J Lewis vch.

This is for those who want to do their bit for the environment and still save massively over standard tariffs. The winning bid, from a tariff that's generated 100% of its elec from renewable sources and a very rare 10% of its gas from biomethane, is the MSE Bulb 12mth fix.

- You also get £30 dual fuel cashback from Cheap Energy Club.
- It's capped at 1,000: reasonable for a green deal, but speed is safer.
- It's a very green tariff - see its full green credentials.
- It's available for dual fuel & electricity-only.
- Bulb sends a £12.50/fuel John Lewis vch 2mths after you switch.
- You must opt to pay by monthly direct debit.
- Leave early and there's a £5/fuel exit fee.
- As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 1yr.
- If you move home you can take the tariff with you.

How it compares for someone with typical usage
Avg price on Ofgem typical dual fuel direct-debit use (varies by region)

Typical cost: Big six standard tariff: £1,089/yr
MSE Special: Bulb 12mth fix: £869/yr + £30 cashback (early exit £5/fuel)
Next cheapest 100% renewable: Ovo 12mth fix: £883/yr - no exit fees

Get YOUR EXACT PRICE & saving via a full market comparison


- Good for you if: 1) You want a competitive price but will pay a little more for green. 2) You're happy to switch again in a year.

- Not for you if: 1) You just want the cheapest price. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free (though the penalty is small). 3) You're with an independent gas transporter (IGT), as Bulb charges an extra £8.33/mth (£100/yr).

- How's customer service? Bulb is a small, new supplier, so we've no feedback on its service - however we have visited it, checked it can handle the traffic and set up boosted customer service for our switch. Hopefully all good.

Winner 4: Cheapest ELECTRICITY-ONLY tariff. E.on 12mth fix.

Our winner is the MSE E.on 12mth fix, but we need to be straight as it won't always win. It's best at mid to low use especially when you factor in our cashback. Click the link and you'll get a comparison showing you - if it doesn't win, you'll likely be shown you still save elsewhere.

- Existing E.on customers can get it without paying an exit fee regardless of what elec tariff they're on, even if part of a dual fuel deal.
- You also get £15 switching cashback from Cheap Energy Club.
- Tick 'sign up to E.on points' during sign up & over 12mths you'll get 1,500 pts, convertible into 1,500 Tesco Clubcard pts or a £15 high st vch (eg, Argos).
- It works on electricity-only including Economy 7.
- You can opt to pay by monthly direct debit or costlier quarterly cash / cheque / direct debit.
- Leave early and there's a £30 exit fee.
- As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 1yr.

How it compares
Roughly based on the ELEC-ONLY usage of someone with oil/other heating

Typical cost: Big six standard tariff: £508/yr
MSE Special: E.on 12mth fix: £380/yr + £15 cashback (early exit fees £30)
Next cheapest fix: GB Energy 12mth fix: £380/yr - no cashback (no exit fee)

Get YOUR EXACT PRICE & saving via a full market comparison


- Good for you if: 1) You don't have gas. 2) You are happy to switch again in a year. 3) You shop at Tesco and collect Clubcard points.

- Not for you if: 1) You're an electricity-only user but have high usage - but then still click the link to do a full comparison. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free within the year.

- How's customer service? In our last customer service poll E.on did well, scoring 58% 'great' and 11% 'poor' from 688 votes. We've worked with E.on in our previous Big Switch Events, have boosted customer service resources for it, and found it good at dealing with issues.

Cheapest prepaid - SADLY no winner.

We tried for a key or card tariff, but no supplier beat the market's best buys, so we wouldn't put our name to it. Yet use our Prepay Comparison to find your cheapest - many can save £120/year.

However, even on them you'll still be paying £300/yr more than the cheapest direct debit deal. See Can I switch to a standard meter?

The MSE Big Energy Switch Event 4
The MSE Big Energy Switch Event 4

The MSE Big Switch Event 4 FAQs
For more detailed answers see the full MSE collective FAQs


Q. I'm already with one of these providers (eg, BG). Can I still switch? Yes, plus you won't have to pay any exit fees & you still get our cashback.

Q. Will the collective tariffs always win? Mostly, not always. It depends where you live and your usage, which is why we do this via a comparison.

Q. My fix ends soon (incl MSE's Big Switch Event 2), can I do this? Yes, within 49 days of your fix ending THEY CAN'T CHARGE exit fees.

Q. How does Cheap Energy Club work? When you join, 3 things happen:

1) We show your exact price, saving & compare to ALL market tariffs. While our collective tariffs usually win, there can be regional & usage variations.
2) You get £30 dual fuel cashback (£15 elec-only). Any time we can switch you (collective switch or not) we give this, sent roughly 60-90 days later.
3) We monitor that it stays cheap. You set a 'trigger saving', eg, £150/yr, then we alert you if you can save this by switching again - perfect for fixes where cheap rates go quick. This takes the hassle out of energy tarting, where you constantly switch to get the cheapest rate.

Q. What do I need to switch? A bill - preferably your annual bill - would be good, and use kWh rather than cost if you can. But if you don't have that, estimate your usage (if you're moving home the comparison does it for you) and while the answer won't be perfect, it shouldn't be too far out.

Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. We're paid £60ish/dual fuel switch & give you £30 as cashback. After supplier costs we get £11 for costs & profit.

Q. I'm locked into a fix - should I switch? Possibly. Just do our comparison, which shows how much you'd save compared to your current fix & the price it jumps to after. Just ensure you factor in any exit fees.

Q. Who's responsible for these tariffs - MSE or the energy firm? The energy firm is, and you pay it. Yet we take our bit seriously and ask all providers to set up special customer help teams with max 48-hour response times. If something goes wrong, and it won't help, let us know and we'll try to help.

Q. If prices are dropping, should I wait? Standard price cuts are trivial compared with the savings possible here. If other cheap deals launch during our collective, they'll be shown in your comparison. Prices may continue to fall after, but switching now means saving now. Drops would need be huge to overcome that, and if they are, save now and pay the exit fees to switch then.

More quick FAQs:

Q. I'm in credit - will I get it back if I switch? Yes. See Reclaim credit.
Q. I'm in debt - can I switch? Yes, usually - see switching in debt help.
Q. Can I see the standing charge and kWh costs? They vary by region, so we display YOUR exact cost in the Cheap Energy Club comparison result.
Q. Can I switch if I've solar & FIT? Yes. See full solar & FIT info.
Q. Can I switch firm if I've a smart meter? You may lose some functionality.
Q. Do I keep my Warm Home Discount? It depends, see Warm Home info.
Q. Is there a credit check? BG and E.on yes (unless you're an existing customer), Green Star and Bulb no. See collective credit check info.
Q. Can I get paper bills? Yes (not Bulb) but you'll pay up to £15/yr more - see paper bills.
Q. Can I switch if with an independent gas transporter? Yes, see IGT help.
Q. Is paying by direct debit cheapest? Yes, but do regular meter readings.
Q. Can they put my price up on a cheap fix? The rate's fixed, but use more (or if it's estimated you will) & the direct debit can rise. See Fight Unfair Direct Debits.
Q. Can I switch if I'm renting? Yes. See our Renters' Factsheet.

This article first appeared in the weekly email on 3 February 2016.

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