Online energy bills falling faster than standard plans, uSwitch finds

19 October 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Households who have signed up to online energy plans have seen their bills fall 12 per cent this year, compared to a fall of just four per cent for standard tariff customers.

Online energy plan customers have not only benefitted from the ease of management for online accounts, but have also benefitted from more savings than their standard tariff counterparts.

Savvy consumers who have online energy plans are saving £133 a year following price cuts this year, while standard tariff energy customers are saving £54 a year. 

At the beginning of 2009, online energy plans were already £170 cheaper than standard plans, but following this year's cuts online customers are now saving £249 a year.

But despite the savings to be made, with online plans coming out as consistently cheaper than standard ones, and concerns over the cost of fuel as winter approaches, only five per cent of UK households have online energy plans.

uSwitch also found that 19 per cent of households are struggling to pay their energy bills; 57 per cent are actively trying to cut back on how much energy they use, to make their bills cheaper, and a further 17 per cent intend to join them.

But even those households with online energy plans could be missing out if they do not continue to compare energy plans, the price comparison website warns, becsue gas and electricity providers often offer lower prices on new plans, instead of cutting the cost of existing ones.

Without comparing deals regularly, households could be on a plan that is no longer the cheapest one available to them, and therefore might not be fully benefitting from the price cuts.

Commenting, Will Marples, energy expert at, said: "Suppliers have been busy cutting prices, but unfortunately these reductions have been passing most consumers by."

The study has also revealed that those who arguably have the most to gain from price cuts – the elderly and the vulnerable – are the least likely to compare deals and switch to the cheapest deal.

To improve the number of consumers taking up the cheapest online deals, Mr Marples said that "More work needs to be done on educating and informing consumers - with particular attention paid to those who are less able to go online. "Ofgem should also monitor the number of households who move from uncompetitive standard plans to online plans - if competition is to work this number should grow steadily year-on-year," he said.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd