This content originally appeared in the MSE weekly email on 10 June 2015.

The new energy secretary's wagged her fingers at the 'Big Six' firms for not cutting prices. Yet don't be fuel-ish and wait for politicians to deliver – the cheapest deals for around three years are available now, if you're willing to ditch and switch. 

Urgent. Cheap one year fix ends Monday + get £30 cashback. The two winners right now are 'collective deals' – bespoke tariffs organised through a bidding process. 

  •  MoneySupermarket's* one year E.on fix closes on Monday For someone with typical use, it averages £877/year, a £278/year saving over a Big Six standard tariff. It has no early-exit penalties, so you're free to leave if things change, and via our link, not direct, switchers get £30 dual-fuel cashback (takes three-six months to arrive).

    It does a full comparison as part of it, so you can see how it adds up (ensure 'all tariffs' is selected).

  • Ichoosr's British Gas July 2016 fix averages £2 a year less than MoneySupermarket, but it has £30/fuel exit penalties and no cashback. One warning here, there's no comparison, something we feel every collective should offer, so ensuring it wins in your area's something of a leap of faith.

  • If you're not worried about fixing the rate, the cheapest variable tariff (ie, its rate could go up or down) is from GB Energy at £870/year for someone with typical usage. To see how it stacks up, use our Cheap Energy Club.
Martin Lewis
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TOP PICKS (typical usage - varies by region)

Tariff Cost/year Exit fee Cashback
Average 'Big Six' standard tariff   £1,155
MoneySupermarket* E.on 12 month fix £877 None £30 (a)
Ichoosr BG July 16 fix £875 £30/fuel No
Top variable GB Energy £870 None No
Top non-collective fix First Utility July 16 fix £913 £30/fuel £30 (a) (b)

a) £30 dual fuel, £15 electricity only (b) via Cheap Energy Club. All monthly direct debit, dual fuel, unless stated.

Six gas and electricity need-to-knows. Full help and options in Cheap Gas and Electricity, but in brief:

1) A fix locks in the rate you pay per unit, but if you use more, then the amount you pay can still go up.
2) If you're on a key or card meter, you can still save big by switching. See Cheap Prepayment Meters.
3) To get the lowest price, pay by monthly direct debit. Just ensure you then give regular meter readings.
4) If you don't want to regularly switch, go for a longer fix - it gives you a long-term decent rate with less hassle.
5) If you're in credit when you switch, the provider should give money back to you. Ask if it doesn't.
6) Cut usage to max your savings - see our Free InsulationGreen Deal and Energy Mythbusting guides.

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