Energy tariffs

Energy tariffs

What is an energy tariff?

Some money above a square with a gas flame in it and a square with an electric socket in it.

An energy tariff sets how much you have to pay for each unit of gas and electricity you use. 

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An energy tariff sets how much you have to pay for your standing charge.    

A pound sign next to a calendar showing 10 October.

The standing charge is a charge you have to pay every day for your gas or electricity. 

A pound sign next to a calendar showing 10 October. Below the calendar are a gas flame and an electric socket, each with a red cross beside them.

You have to pay a standing charge every day even if you do not use gas or electricity every day. 

Several words.

A standing charge can also be called a daily rate or a daily unit rate. 

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Each tariff has a name.  

A bill with a circle around the tariff.

The name of your tariff should be on your gas or electricity bill.

An information sign on an electric bill.

To find out what other information will be on your energy bill, go to our How to understand your energy bill page.

A lady holding a sign which has name written on it.

Most energy providers have a variable tariff and a fixed-rate tariff. 

2 squares with electricity in them.  Behind each square are some pound notes.  There are more pound notes behind one of the squares.

A fixed rate tariff with 1 energy provider might cost more then a fixed rate tariff with a different energy provider. 

Variable tariffs

Some money above a square with a gas flame in it and a square with an electric socket in it. Beside the money is a red arrow pointing up and down.

If you are on a variable tariff, the price you pay for each unit of gas or electricity and your standing charge can go up or down at any time. 

A man reading a letter.  Beside him in a circle are images of a month on a calendar, some money with a red arrow pointing up and down, a square with a gas flame in it and a square with electricity in it.

If your energy provider is going to change the price of your gas or electricity or your standing charge, they have to tell you 30 days before they do it. 

A man holding a clipboard and signing something.  Beside the man is a blue circle with a gas flame and some months on a calendar in it.

On some tariffs you have to sign a contract to promise that you will stay on the tariff for a fixed time. 

A man holding a clipboard and signing something.  Beside the man is a blue circle with a gas flame and some months on a calendar in it. Beside the image is a red cross.

You do not have to promise to stay on a variable tariff for a fixed time. 

A hand holding some pound notes with a red cross beside it.

You do not have to pay some extra money if you want to change to a different tariff. 

A hand holding lots of pound notes.  Behind the hand is a square with a gas flame in it and a square with an electric socket in it. Above the squares is some money with a red arrow pointing up and down.

Gas and electricity used to cost a lot of money on a variable tariff.  

A man with his thumb up.  Behind the man is a square with a gas flame in it and a square with an electric socket in it. Above the squares is some money with a red arrow pointing up and down.

A variable tariff might be the cheapest way to pay for your gas or electricity now.  

Fixed-rate tariffs

A square with a gas flame in it and a square with an electric socket in it. Above the squares is some money.

If you are on a fixed-rate tariff, you pay the same amount of money for each unit of gas or electricity and your standing charge until the tariff end date.   

A man holding a clipboard and signing something.  Behind him is a calendar with a circle around a date.

The tariff end date is the date that your contract ends. 

A hand holding some pound notes.

If you want to change to a different tariff before your contract ends, you might have to pay some extra money. 

A hand holding some money with a red cross beside it.  Behind the money are 2 months with circles around some dates.

You do not have to pay any extra money to change to a different tariff or a different energy supplier if your contract is going to end in 49 days or less. 

A square with a gas flame in it and a square with an electric socket in it. Above the squares is some money and a calendar with a date with a circle around it.

If you are on a fixed-rate tariff, you know how much you are going to pay for each unit of gas or electricity and your standing charge until the tariff end date. 

A graph with lines going up and an electric bill.

A fixed-rate tariff does not stop your bill going up.

A gas flame with a red arrow pointing up, an equals sign and a gas bill with a red arrow pointing up.

If you use more gas or electricity, you will pay more for your bills.   

Information to know

A hand holding lots of money in front of a gas flame and an electric socket.

During the cost of living crisis, energy providers had fixed-rate tariffs where you pay a lot of money for each unit of gas or electricity. 

A square with a gas flame in it and a square with an electric socket in it. Above the squares is some money and calendars for 2024 and 2025

If you choose a fixed-rate tariff, you will pay the same amount of money for each unit of gas or electricity for 1 or 2 years.  

A hand holding some pound notes in front of a gas flame and an electric socket.  to the side is a red arrow pointing down.

Lots of people think that gas and electricity will get cheaper.   

A pound symbol next to a gas flame and an electric socket.

You should only choose a fixed-rate tariff if each unit of gas or electricity costs about the same as the energy price cap or the energy price guarantee.  

A man holding his hand up to a pound sign, a gas flame and an electric socket.

The energy price cap and the energy price guarantee limit how much suppliers can charge you for each unit of electricity or gas and your standing charge. 

A information sign next to a pound symbol, a gas flame and an electric socket.

For more information about the energy price cap and the energy price guarantee, go to our energy price cap page.

How to get help

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You can get help and advice on our website at www.mencap.org.uk/COL 
 

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If you are worried about money, contact our Learning Disability Helpline: 

 

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Call us Monday to Friday on 0808 808 1111

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Email us at helpline@mencap.org.uk 

British Gas Energy Trust logo.

Thank you to British Gas Energy Trust for funding.