Comparison site has launched The Great British Collective Switch* to encourage households to switch and save. But how does it stack up?

Available till 27 July, the energy firm providing the top one-year fixed tariff is E.on, and at £885 for a typical family at average dual fuel it's about £270/year cheaper than the average cost of a standard tariff from the big six energy providers at £1,155.

A collective switch is where a 'trusted intermediary' runs an auction for firms to bid to give special tariffs.

Is this collective deal the best on the market?

Not necessarily. It wins for some but not others. Here are the key points:

  • The cost at average usage via The Great British Collective Switch* would be £885/year, provided you opt for direct debit and paperless billing (otherwise it's £5 extra per fuel). It does, however, have exit penalty fees of £30 per fuel.

  • While MUCH cheaper than a standard tariff, based on average use, on pure rate alone, this is not the cheapest. That accolade goes to GB Energy's variable at £870. Of course, with a variable deal you're not protected if rates rise (as you are with a fix) but you'll get the benefit if they fall.

  • If you want a fix, the Energyhelpline collective is the cheapest fixed for some, but not all. The cheapest rate depends on where you live and how much you use. The example table below shows that for low, medium and high usage in London and Birmingham, it doesn't always win.

  • That's why, whatever deal you go for, it's vital to do a comparison against the rest of the market. As it's not our collective, it's not in our Cheap Energy Club, but thankfully Energyhelpline does a comparison.

  • Remember that if you switch via MSE's Cheap Energy Club you get £30 dual fuel cashback (£15 single fuel) too, which we've factored into the calculations below. We show you ALL deals apart from other firms' collectives, not just those where we can switch you.

How the Energyhelpline collective tariff compares (winning deal in bold)

Usage Birmingham London
  Collective tariff Top alternative, incl £30 cashback Collective tariff Top alternative, incl £30 cashback
Low £611 £582 £607 £598
Medium £882 £841 £877 £875
£1,240 £1,174 £1,232 £1,234

Dual fuel tariffs, using Ofgem's average figures for low, medium and high usage. Figures updated on 21 July 2015.

We've reviewed this E.on deal as we try to analyse large, national collective switches.

Is The Great British Collective energy switch worth it?
Is The Great British Collective energy switch worth it?

Weigh up customer service reviews

The Great British Collective winning tariff is with E.on and in's latest energy company service poll, it came mid-level out of 15 suppliers, with 54% rating it 'great' and, 36% rating it 'ok' and 10% rating it 'poor'. If you go for it and have a problem you'll need to contact E.on.

Additional reporting by Fraser Balaam.