E.ON has launched a new fixed price online energy plan – FixOnline 3 – which allows consumers to fix their prices until 1st December, 2010. The plan is only available to those who will manage their account online and pay by monthly direct debit. In return, they will be paying the second lowest energy prices currently available in the market and will only be paying £1 more than if they were on the cheapest plan in the market.
E.ON’s new plan averages out at £984 a year, while EDF Energy’s average bill size comes in at £983. However, EDF Energy’s plan is only available in 10 out of 14 energy regions, which means that many households, including those in London, will not be able to benefit. E.ON, and British Gas which brought out a new competitive online plan only yesterday, will be able to target those areas missing out.
With suppliers cutting online prices, hopes are that it will encourage consumers to start paying by direct debit again. New uSwitch.com data revealed a 7.3% decline in the number of switchers opting to pay by direct debit. If the trend continues, it could result in 342,000 households ditching direct debits this year – and losing £33.5 million in discounts on their energy bills as a result.
Will Marples, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “To see two of the big six suppliers launch competitive new energy plans in as many days is great news both for consumers and the market. The price war is injecting new life into the market and making consumers sit up and take note. If they take advantage of the lower prices now available it will help them to manage their energy costs going forward.
“If consumers want to benefit they need to ditch their expensive standard plans and move to one of the new online energy plans. The average standard plan is £1,239 a year while the average online plan is now £1,015 a year – this is an easy saving of £224 a year for the average household. With winter fast approaching, it’s a saving households should definitely be looking to make.”