10:13 18 April 2013
Householders anxious about soaring energy bills can protect themselves against price rises for the next two winters thanks to a new deal from energy giant, EDF Energy.
This is great news for consumers who are searching for an attractive deal to keep a lid on spiralling energy costs after being hit by high gas and electricity bills as the result of lingering cold weather this year.
Here, we take a closer look at the EDF Energy's new offering to see how it stacks up against some of its rivals.
What's the deal?
EDF Energy has unveiled its new Blue + Price Promise February 2015 tariff which allows customers to fix in their energy costs for nearly two years.
Based on the national average of regional prices, the cost of the annual dual fuel bill for someone on the Blue + Price Promise February 2015 tariff will be £1,192 a year if they pay by direct debit.
But what makes the tariff even more appealing is that, unlike many fixed tariffs on the market, EDF's deal includes the freedom to leave at any time without incurring a fee. This means you can switch to another deal if energy prices suddenly tumble.
What's more, the deal comes with an industry-first price promise to let customers know if another energy supplier offers a tariff that is more than £1 a week cheaper, based on standard usage.
Who's it good for?
A fixed tariff like this one will appeal to anyone on a strict household budget who wants a guarantee that their energy bills won't suddenly rocket in the coming winters.
It's also ideal for anyone who has thought about choosing a fixed tariff in the past, but has been put off by the fees many tariffs charge to get out of the deal early.
The main catch is that EDF Energy's Blue + Price Promise February 2015 tariff is not the cheapest deal on the market - fixed or otherwise.
Ovo Energy, for example, offers its New Energy Plan fixed tariff which costs an average of £1,172 a year. However, although this plan £20 less , it is only fixed for 12 months.
If you'd prefer not to fix, SSE offers a Discount Energy Bonus October 2014 tariff, costing around £1,146 a year, making it around £46 cheaper a year than the EDF offering.
And Scottish Power's Online Energy Saver 21 tariff costs an average of £1,164 a year, while npower's Energy Online August 2014 tariff costs an average of £1,184 a year. However, these are only averages and are all variable tariffs so the price could rise at any time.
What's the verdict?
EDF Energy's new tariff is a great option for anyone who is concerned about energy prices rising in the future and wants to freeze the amount they pay for their energy bills for the best part of two winters.
Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at MoneySupermarket, said: "Given the price hikes of recent years and the fact that energy prices only seem to be heading in one direction, this will be a popular product. What's more, the promise of informing customers if there is another supplier that is more than £1 per week cheaper makes Blue+ Price Promise a very attractive deal."
But she also warned that customers need to act fast if they want to take advantage of this tariff.
She said: "Tariffs like this one prove to be extremely popular and can be pulled from the market at any time, so households who are still languishing on a more expensive standard tariff should act quickly and make the switch, as by doing so could save you £152 on average."
As well as making sure you are on the best tariff to suit your needs, a smart meter or energy monitor can help you reduce your bills just by increasing awareness of your energy use and helping you to cut wastage.
For example, the Energy Saving Trust says that turning appliances off at the plug when not in use and not leaving appliances on standby saves an average of £35 per year on energy bills.
Similarly, turning down your thermostat by one degree could save around £10 a year on heating bills, while washing clothes at 30 degrees rather than higher temperatures will save around £12 a year on typical energy bills.
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