Energy tariffs explained

By Rachel England Monday 02 December 2013

There’s a bewildering amount of choice out there when it comes to picking an energy tariff. From green plans to online deals, it’s not always easy knowing which is right for you. Here’s a rundown of each:

Dual fuel tariffs

Dual fuel tariffs simply mean that you get both your gas and electricity from one supplier, and often you’re rewarded with a discount for doing so. Many find these tariffs more convenient as you only receive one bill and there’s only one supplier to deal with in the event of a query or complaint.

Capped energy tariffs

A capped energy tariff means that the unit cost of your gas or electricity won’t rise above a certain level during the period of the plan. It may rise slightly, or even go down, but it will never go above the agreed cap. This helps protect you from price increases, but these tariffs may be more expensive than the cheapest tariffs, and may involve a cancellation fee should you choose to leave before the end of the contract.

Fixed energy tariffs

A fixed energy tariff means the per unit cost of your electricity or gas will stay the same for the duration of the plan, which is usually between one and three years. It doesn’t mean that you pay the same amount regardless of how much you use! The biggest attraction of these tariffs is that you’re protected from price increases, but they’re often more expensive than the cheapest tariffs and sometimes involve cancellation fees.

Online tariffs

Online energy tariffs are almost always the cheapest available, and simply mean you sign up online. Some suppliers will continue to send you paper bills and let you manage your account as you would with any other type of tariff, while others will ask that you manage your account online only. 

Economy 7 tariffs

Economy 7 tariffs work by offering cheaper electricity at night, making them suitable for those working shifts, or who use a lot of electricity at night time. The ‘7’ stands for the seven hours that the cheaper electricity is available, usually between midnight and 7am, or thereabouts. It’s estimated that you need to use around 55% of your electricity at night to make this tariff worthwhile, and you will need a special type of electricity meter, which may incur a fee.

Economy 10 tariffs

Economy 10 tariffs work a bit like Economy 7 in that they offer ten hours of ‘off-peak’ energy in a 24 hour period, although they’re spread out throughout the day. This usually works out at three hours in the afternoon, two in the evening and five overnight. Unit prices are often half the standard amount, but prices for energy used outside of these ten hours can be higher than usual. You’ll also need a special meter, and a disciplined lifestyle to make sure you’re getting the most from the tariff.

Prepayment tariffs

Prepayment tariffs are fairly self explanatory, in that you must pay for your energy before you use it, much like a pay-as-you-go phone. These plans offer individuals a good way to manage their budget and avoid unexpected bills, but often cost more than other kinds of tariff. Read our guide to prepayment meters here.

Green energy tariffs

Most suppliers offer a more environmentally-friendly energy tariff nowadays. While the actual gas and electricity that is pumped into your house doesn’t change, these tariffs are ‘green’ because the supplier puts back the equivalent of, or a percentage of, your energy consumption into the national grid via renewable energy.

Social energy tariffs

Social energy tariffs were designed to help those in fuel poverty – where energy bills added up to more than 10% of a household’s total income. These tariffs offered a special rate to those who were vulnerable, but since 2011 have been phased out and are no longer available to new customers (those currently on a social tariff should be aware that they will be phased out entirely by 2015). The scheme has been replaced with the Warm Home Discount, which offers a discount on heating costs for eligible individuals struggling to pay the bills.

O​VO​ Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879

Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3-5% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.


1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount.  All rates correct as of 20/3/2018, but may go up or down.

2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas).  All rates correct as of 22/11/2017, but may go up or down.

3Pay Monthly Savings claims: Saving based on the estimated annual cost of Simpler tariff for a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying monthly in advance by direct debit, including online discount. Comparisons made against the average of the Big 6 standard variable tariffs with equivalent features. All rates correct as of 20/3/2018.“The Big 6” are British Gas, Scottish Power, SSE, Npower, E.ON and EDF.

4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.

33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.

OVO Interest Rewards: Interest Rewards are paid on credit balances of customers paying by monthly Direct Debit. It is calculated at 3% in your first year, 4% in your second year and 5% in your third year (and every year thereafter) if you pay by Direct Debit. Interest Rewards are paid monthly based on the number of days you’re in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. Full terms apply:

95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Savings based on the average estimated annual costs for all new OVO customers quoted through the OVO website, compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/05/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT.

94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.

uSwitch's Energy Supplier of the Year 2017: OVO energy was voted and awarded  'Energy Supplier of the year' and best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process. OVO Energy scored a 96% customer satisfaction score.

* EV - Everywhere, full terms and conditions:

* OVO SolarStore (Beta), full terms and conditions:

Pay Monthly unit rates

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