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British Gas £300/yr saving – how to switch without switching

British Gas £300/yr saving – how to switch without switching

If your energy's provided by one of the big six (British Gas, E.on, EDF, Npower, Scottish Power or SSE), this is a no-brainer moment for action. Most of them have cut prices, but only on a DON'T ASK, DON'T GET basis (though you can't usually ask the firms directly, it has to be via a comparison site).

Update Monday 25 November: Martin first wrote this for the MSE weekly email on Wednesday 6 November, but we've updated it today with the latest prices and info. 

It's all a result of wholesale energy prices (that energy firms pay) dropping, so rates have been changing rapidly, but who knows how long they'll stay this cheap.

Do nowt, and you'll likely be stuck on their bog-standard, expensive, 'price cap rate' tariffs, which won't change until next March, meaning you'll overpay by £100s during the heavy-use winter period. So carpe diem (ie, get your backside in gear). Here are three options:

1. Switch to the very cheapest. Do a five-minute whole-of-market comparison via our Cheap Energy Club.
2. Switch to a name you know. Scroll through the cheapest big names below.
3. Don't want to switch? MAKE your current provider charge you less. Grab its cheapest tariff, which is detailed below...

The big six's cheapest (don't ask, don't get) deals

All tariffs apply to England, Scotland and Wales (not NI) energy users paying by direct debit or on receipt of a bill (ie, not prepay). The savings are compared to someone with typical dual-fuel use on that firm's standard tariff (that's an avg £1,178/year).

Links go via our comparison – as tariff costs can vary depending on usage and location, this way you get a personal price, saving and cashback where possible (plus it updates with price changes and you can compare against all big-name deals). Here are the deals in alphabetical order...

1. BRITISH GAS (including existing customers) – SAVE £309 compared to its standard rate. The new British Gas Energy Plus Protection Dec 2020v2 is a one-year fixed-rate deal (so no price hikes for that time) at £868/year on typical usage, including £25 MSE cashback. It's only available via comparison sites, such as via our link (which also gets you the extra cashback).

This is a serious powerplay by British Gas, its cheapest tariff since Nov 2016. You also get a year's 'free' heating insurance (it auto-renews after a year, so cancel then if you don't want it).

MSE customer service score: 40% great, 27% OK (200 votes).
Fixed? Until 31 Dec 2020, so the rate won't change (though cost depends on usage).
Renewable? 100% renewable electricity, not green gas.
MSE cashback? Yes, for new and existing customers.
Dual-fuel only? Yes, you must get gas and electricity.
Early exit fees? £60 if you leave more than 49 days before fix ends.
Will existing customers switching to it be charged exit fees? No.
Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but avail other ways.
Smart meters: If you don't have 'em, you must get 'em installed (one for gas, one for electricity) within three months to stay on this tariff.

2. E.ON new customers save £307/year, existing customers £188/year. The cheapest E.on deal is its Fix Online Exclusive v19, but that's ONLY for new customers. It's a one-year fix at £870/yr on typical use, including MSE cashback.

Its cheapest deal for existing customers is its Fix Online v32, which is far more expensive at a typical £989/yr, though that's still far cheaper than its standard tariff. You can only get it direct, but you'll see how it stacks up via a comparison site.

MSE customer service score: 32% great, 33% OK (217 votes).
Fixed? Both for one year, so the rate won't change (but cost depends on use).
Renewable? 100% renewable electricity, not green gas.
MSE cashback? For new customers only.
Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or electricity-only (including Economy 7).
Early exit fees? £30/fuel.
Will existing customers switching to it be charged exit fees? No.
Payment: Monthly direct debit only.
Smart meters: If you don't have 'em, it will offer 'em (one for gas, one for electricity), but it says you can refuse and stay on its cheap tariff. 

3. EDF (including existing customers) – SAVE a typical £298/yr on its standard rate. The EDF Simply Online 1 Year Fix Dec20v2 is fixed for a year at £879/yr on typical use, including MSE cashback. You can't get it direct though, only via comparison sites, such as via our link (which also gets you the extra cashback).

MSE customer service score: 40% great, 34% OK (247 votes).
Fixed? Till 31 December 2020, so the rate won't change (but cost depends on use).
Renewable? No.
MSE cashback? Yes, for new and existing customers.
Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or electricity-only (including Economy 7).
Early exit fees? £35/fuel.
Will existing customers switching to it be charged exit fees? Yes, unless you're on its standard tariff or a fix that ends in less than three months.
Payment: Monthly direct debit only.
Smart meters: If you don't have 'em, you must get 'em installed (one for gas, one for electricity) within three months or you'll be moved to its standard tariff AND have to pay exit fees of £35 per fuel.

4. NPOWER (incl existing custs) – SAVE a typical £86/yr on its standard rate. The Npower Price Fix January 2021 v2 is fixed for just over one year for £1,092/year on typical use, including MSE cashback. This is a saving, but not a big one, so have a think about whether you should be switching firm, even to another big six company.

While you can get this direct, go via our comparison link and you get the extra £25 dual-fuel cashback.

MSE customer service score: 25% great, 39% OK (108 votes).
Fixed? Till 31 Jan 2021, so the rate won't change (but cost depends on use).
Renewable? No.
MSE cashback? Yes, for new and existing customers only.
Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or single-fuel (including Economy 7).
Early exit fees? £30/fuel.
Will existing customers switching to it be charged exit fees? No, for most.
Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but avail other ways.
Smart meters: If you don't have 'em, you must get 'em installed (one for gas, one for electricity) within four months or you'll be moved to its standard tariff.

5. SCOTTISH POWER (incl existing customers) – SAVE a typical £313/yr on its standard rate. Scottish Power's Super Saver November 2020 B11 is fixed for a year at £865/yr on typical use, including £25 MSE cashback.

You can't get it direct though, only via comparison sites, like ours (which also gets you the cashback). Be warned, its customer service rating is poor, even for a big six firm.

MSE customer service score: 18% great, 27% OK (198 votes).
Fixed? Till 30 Nov 2020, so the rate won't change (but cost depends on use).
Renewable? 100% renewable electricity. Not green gas.
MSE cashback? Yes, for new and existing customers.
Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or electricity-only (incl Economy 7).
Early exit fees? £30/fuel.
Will existing customers switching to it be charged exit fees? No.
Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but avail other ways.
Smart meters: If you don't have 'em, you must get 'em installed (one for gas, one for electricity) within three months or you'll be moved to its standard tariff.

6. SSE (including existing customers) – SAVE a typical £39/year on its standard rate. The SSE 1 Year Fix Paperless is fixed for one year at £1,139/yr based on typical use, including MSE cashback. 

The saving is likely so small because SSE is currently being bought by Ovo, so it's in a state of flux. While the fixed price is locked in regardless, it is worth looking at switching to another firm to make bigger savings.

If you do want this tariff, while you can get this direct, go via our comparison link and you get the extra £25 dual-fuel cashback.

MSE customer service score: 34% great, 33% OK (83 votes).
Fixed? For one year, so the rate won't change (but cost depends on use).
Renewable? No.
MSE cashback? Yes, for new and existing customers.
Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or single-fuel (incl Economy 7).
Early exit fees? No.
Will existing customers switching to it be charged exit fees? No for most.
Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but avail other ways.
Smart meters: Not needed.

Common energy-switching questions

Here's a quick Q&A – for more, see the full Cheap Energy Club FAQs.

Q. Is switching risky? Could I be cut off? No. It's the same gas, same electricity and same safety. The key thing that changes is the price and the service if you switch provider. Though many of the top deals now require smart meters, so if you don't have them already, someone may have to visit your home. See our Switching FAQs.

Q. I live in Northern Ireland. Can I get these deals? Unfortunately not. No UK comparisons include NI, but see Cheap NI Electricity or the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland's tool.

Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. Like all energy comparison sites, we're paid each time you switch through us, yet we give you roughly half (that's £25 dual-fuel, £12.50 single-fuel cashback).

This is money you wouldn't get if you went direct, so it's a win-win. The rest helps cover our costs and hopefully makes us some profit.

Q. How green is green? It's complicated. We explain the difference between the various renewable options in our Green energy explainer.

We've lots more help, including...