There are two main types of energy offers:
- market retail offer, and
- standard retail offer.
Prices under market retail offers:
- are set by energy retailers, and
- can change at any time, even just after you’ve signed up.
- does not have to tell you before they change the price, but
- must tell you no later than your next bill.
But because the prices are set by the retailer, you can sometimes get discounts.
Some retailers have offers where the price is fixed for a certain period. They sometimes call this:
- fixed price
- price guarantee, or
- price freeze.
But make sure you check the prices. There might be another offer with a lower overall tariff rate.
To find fixed price offers:
- go to the Energy Made Easy offer search page
- click on 'Filter Search' on the offer results page, then
- click on ‘I only want to see offers where the unit price is fixed’.
If you don’t want to sign up to a market retail offer, you can choose a standard retail offer. This is sometimes called a standing offer.
With standard retail offers, prices:
- are often set by the government—it depends where you live
- are generally higher than for market retail offers, and
- can’t change more than once every six months.
There are other differences to market retail offers. For example:
- you can’t get the discounts like you can with market retail offers
- there is a minimum amount of time before you can have your energy cut off if you don’t pay, and
- retailers must do more to tell you about price increases.
You might be on a standard retail offer if you:
- have been in the same location for several years, and
- never taken up a market offer.
Pre-payment meters and bulk hot water
There are different rules if:
- your property has a pre-payment meter, or
- you live in an apartment and pay for bulk hot water.
These rules may differ depending on where you live. Contact your retailer if you want to find out more.
With energy offers, ‘fixed term’ means the offer has particular time period. It does not mean ‘fixed price’. Prices can go up!