17th January 2014
Sainsbury’s Energy has today launched the longest fixed price energy tariff on the market.
According to comparison site uSwitch, the new plan will enable customers to lock in their prices until the 31 March 2018 – three months more than the previous longest fix offered by npower.
The cost of over four years of protection from price hikes is £1,316 a year for gas and electricity – just £52 more expensive than the average standard energy bill from the big six.
However, the new plan is almost £300 a year more expensive than the cheapest tariff on the market – Spark Energy’s Direct Debit Advance 3 at £1,025 a year, which means consumers will be paying significantly more for the lengthy protection.
It also comes with a hefty £50 per fuel early cancellation fee, which any customers will have to take into account if they are likely to switch away before the fixed period is over.
For consumers looking for cheaper, short-term protection, the cheapest fix on the market comes from another small supplier, First Utility, costing £1,037 a year which is £279 cheaper than Sainsbury’s Energy’s new tariff. However prices will only be protected until 31 July 2015, giving 32 months less than the new plan. The First Utility tariff also carries a £30 per fuel early exit penalty.
The next longest fix comes from npower with its Price Protector December 2017 tariff, which is just over £100 a year cheaper than Sainsbury’s Energy’s new plan but has three months less protection.
Contrary to the newcomer however, npower’s tariff is free from cancellation fees so customers can move away without penalty. This is ideal for those who are concerned about escalating energy bills, but want to be free to switch away if a better deal crosses their path.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch says: “While many consumers have been left disappointed by the way suppliers have handled the levy-led price cuts, the launch of a new longest fix term plan on the market shows that competition is still alive and kicking.
“This new offering from Sainsbury’s Energy gives consumers over four years of sanctuary from future price hikes. This peace of mind makes it a strong contender in today’s market albeit that it comes with a hefty price tag. I strongly urge consumers, if they haven’t already done so, to see how their current tariff stacks up against the very many new competitive deals that are on the market. There are substantial savings to be made which could significantly improve on the price cuts that suppliers have made.”