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.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”