When tackling the often tricky world of energy bills, it’s common to see the term ‘dual fuel’, but other than being a neat little rhyme, what does it actually mean?
My Energy explored…
Dual fuel is the term given the combined service and associated price of gas and electricity together. While there can be price advantages to buying your gas and electricity separately, it’s often much simpler and better for peace of mind to buy them as a single entity. The fact is that not all gas companies sell electricity, and not all electricity companies sell gas, so by displaying that an energy supplier offers both is a good marketing approach.
Have you been approached by your supplier?
Many customers who purchase their electricity and gas separately are repeatedly asked by one, or both of their suppliers to move over to their dual fuel tariff with them. This halves the number of energy bills you need to keep an eye on and puts all of your data in one place. The suppliers who successfully move you onto a dual fuel tariff can then show you some cool graphs and charts relating to your usage and expenditure.
Time saving exercise
The clearest advantage, beyond price, is that you will save time and make it more convenient to pay and keep track of your bills. You’re probably a busy person, so this is a great incentive right? If you take the time to switch from buying just electricity or gas from one energy supplier, to buying both, you will often be rewarded for the loyalty and given discounts. Another advantage is that if you have any problems whatsoever, you only have to deal with one company, one call centre and one helpline, not two!
End of year deduction
If your energy provider has convinced you onto their dual fuel tariff, they will likely offer a fixed rate with deductions. These are sometimes taken off your bill monthly, or at the end of the year as an incentive to stay with them. Our price comparison tool will show you if you could get a better deal by switching from single supply to dual fuel. It’s likely that you can, even without this deduction, as the difference between the most expensive supplier and the cheapest is around £400.
The same supplier, but not dual fuel
It’s totally plausible that you’re with the same energy supplier for your gas and electric, but are not on a dual fuel tariff. This may be because you’re happy with the rates and don’t wish to change them, but you can fully expect your supplier to try and get you onto a dual fuel tariff as soon as one of those contracts expires. The alternative is that you don’t realise the contract has expired and you get automatically moved onto their most expensive tariff.
What do you need to get a dual fuel tariff?
Simply put, you must be on both the mains electric and mains gas. Some homes, often in remote areas, still use bottled gas, and for this reason they wouldn’t be able to get a dual fuel tariff. If you use oil or solid fuel for energy, in lieu of mains gas and mains electric, you also won’t be able to get the deal. For everything else you need, see here.
How do you switch over to a dual fuel tariff?
First, make sure you have everything on this handy list of things needed to switch and save. Then, use our price comparison tool and browse your options. Then, find out if you need to pay an exit fee to leave your current supplier, and consider that price too. Switching over is easy and simple, it takes less than twenty minutes to do the online section, and then around 17 days for the supply to actually change. Don’t worry though, you won’t be cut off in this time, as the suppliers communicate between each other to make sure that you don’t notice a thing. The gas and electric you buy doesn’t change at all, only the company selling it, and they charge a price based on their business costs and what they’ve paid for the fuel.
What if I can’t save?
Well, that’s a good thing, it means you’re already on the cheapest available deal for you! But, if you want to keep reducing your bills, it would be a great idea to read this article about reducing bills through investment, this article for bill-hacking through energy efficiency, or this article about how independent energy companies are disrupting the industry.