You might have heard friends, money advice websites and even your energy supplier talking or sending you information about dual fuel tariffs and energy plans. But, what is ‘dual fuel’, should you switch to a dual fuel tariff, are they cheaper and is it easy to switch to them? In this article I will be aiming to answer these frequently asked questions about dual fuel energy tariffs.
What is a dual fuel tariff?
A dual fuel energy plan or tariff is one where your electricity and gas are bundled together in a package from a single supplier and in the same contract. Most of us get our gas and electricity from two different suppliers but getting on a dual fuel tariff and combining them into a single contract can help you save money on your energy bills. This along with the time saved in having only one energy supply company to deal with when you have queries, complaints or problems are the main benefits for consumers.
At the same time dual fuel contracts are good for the supplier as they increase customers and get more income from persuading you to take both your gas and electricity from them.
Why should I choose a dual fuel tariff?
Switching to a dual fuel tariff has several advantages. The first is that, as mentioned, getting all your energy from a single supplier makes the process of paying for your energy, managing bills and contracts and contacting supplies much, much easier. This goes for you and your energy supplier as they will often combine both services into a single monthly direct debit and bill.
A lot of energy supplies also offer incentives and discounts for customers who switch to dual fuel plans. The incentive for the energy company is that, as a supplier, it is much more secure in you remaining a customer over the long term when taking all your energy needs from them. Put simply, it’s a win-win equation.
Is dual fuel the cheapest tariff for me?
This is a tricky question and frankly it is best answered by running an energy price comparison. There are quite a few tools online such as USwitch which will help to check prices and availability of tariffs in your area.
I recommend using an energy comparison service (these are offered by energy companies but a neutral one is best) as,depending upon your energy needs, usage and location, you could find that buying your gas and electricity from two different suppliers could work out cheaper for you. There are single services tariffs which are priced a little cheaper than dual fuel combined bills.
One thing to take into account is that a lot of energy companies will give customers a discount for switching to/ joining on a dual fuel tariff. This is often called a ‘dual fuel discount’. These might not be advertised or available through a comparison site so unfortunately it may mean a bit of leg work contacting suppliers to find out available discounts.
Does dual fuel offer any other benefits?
They can make life a little simpler. There is one monthly or quarterly statement or bill to check and one direct debit to look out for each billing cycle. It all means a little less admin.
If, or rather when things go wrong and you need to contact your gas and electricity suppliers you only have one phone call to make. It also makes life easier if you switch bank accounts, move home or move to another supplier, you’re only changing one account.
How easy is it to switch to dual fuel?
The short answer is that it is relatively easy to switch to a dual fuel tariff energy plan. Whilst it isn’t too difficult if you are switching gas and electricity from two different companies to a third provider it becomes even easier if you are just moving one fuel (gas or electricity) to the others provider.
Once you have thoroughly gone through a price comparison service, using your most recent electricity and gas bills you should be pointed to the best dual fuel (or not) plan for you. Switching should be an easy process and shouldn’t require a lot of paperwork. Most of the admin should be taken care of by your old and new energy suppliers. You will be informed of the change over of supply date and when any new direct debits begin. Once you have switched to the new provider check with your bank that any old direct debits are cancelled and the new one is setup correctly. All you should really notice is a cheaper energy bill coming your way!
To find out more about dual fuel tariffs, the switching process and other ways to cut your energy costs check out this great guide by OVO Energy on dual fuel.