Comparison site uSwitch has this month launched a collective energy switch to encourage households to save by switching gas and electricity tariffs, but how does it stack up?

The idea behind collective switching is for intermediaries to use collective bargaining power to get the best deals for households.

uSwitch's collective tariff is a one-year fix from E.on costing £803/year on average for a typical dual fuel household, provided you opt for direct debit and paperless billing (otherwise it's £5 extra per fuel for paper bills).

The tariff is available until 3 November for dual fuel and single fuel customers, but prepay users can't get it. Also, if you do get this collective deal and a cheaper tariff comes out, which you want to switch to, you'll be charged £30/fuel to exit early.

So how does uSwitch's tariff compare?

The next cheapest open market fix is £838 on average for a typical dual fuel user, while the average big six standard tariff sets you back £1,095, so uSwitch's deal tops the tables. Plus, with our special link*, dual fuel switchers can also get six free bottles of wine via Naked Wines.

However, as is always the case, energy prices vary depending on where you live and how much energy you use, as the table below shows. So always do a comparison first to find the cheapest deal for you and remember to factor any switching offers, such as cashback, into calculations.

How does uSwitch's collective tariff compare? (i)

Usage (ii) Households in Birmingham Households in London
uSwitch collective tariff Top alternative fix Collective tariff Top alternative fix
Low £549 £572 £573 £590
Medium £794 £822 £831 £850
£1,109 £1,143 £1,162 £1,181

(i) This table doesn't take any switching offers such as cashback or wine into account. (ii) Dual fuel tariffs compared using Ofgem's average figures for low, medium and high usage. Figures updated on 13 October 2015.

What's E.on's customer service like?

E.on came seventh out of 15 providers in our latest energy company service poll with 54% of users rating its service as 'great' and only 10% rating it 'poor'.

In comparison Good Energy, which came top, had an 88% 'great' rating and a 4% 'poor' rating, while Extra Energy, which came last, had an 18% 'great' rating and a 65% 'poor' rating.

uSwitch launches a collective switch, but how good is it?
How does uSwitch's collective stack up?

How can I get the best deal for me?

If you like the sound of uSwitch's tariff, do a price comparison on its website, and ensure you select its 'show me the whole market' option, to see if it's really best for you. You have to do this on its website as you can only get its collective tariff directly from uSwitch.

Alternatively, our Cheap Energy Club compares all tariffs on the market, other than collective switch tariffs that must be registered for elsewhere, and gives £30 dual fuel cashback (£15 single fuel) for switchers.

Switched in our collective? You won't have lost out

If you switched in our recent Big Switch Event III, you're still getting a good deal. The cheapest tariff we secured was market leading on average at the time, costing £814/year. And as you'll already have switched, you'll have benefited from the savings made to date.