Are you on the right tariff?
By: Shell Energy
16 Nov 2023
A helpful guide for deciding which tariff is best for you
From fixed to variable to prepayment, there’s a variety of energy tariffs to choose from – and it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Understanding your energy tariff – and what it includes – could help you choose the right one for your lifestyle and budget.
Don’t know which tariff you’re on? Now is a good time to find out and check if it’s still right for you. That way, as we go through winter and your energy use increases, you can be certain you’re on a tariff that best suits your needs.
How to find out which tariff you’re on
If you’re a Shell Energy customer, the quickest and easiest way to find out what tariff you’re on is to log into My Account. You'll also be able to see how much you're paying, how much energy you're using and other tariffs that are available to you.
What different types of tariffs are available?
A flexible or standard variable tariff means the price you pay per unit of energy will rise or fall depending on the price cap, which is reassessed every quarter.
Flexible tariffs are protected by the price cap, which is set by Ofgem and limits how much energy suppliers can charge per unit of energy. It’s set every three months to make sure changes in the price of energy are passed on to the customer as soon as possible. So if energy prices rise or fall, so does the cost of your energy.
A benefit of a flexible tariff is that it doesn’t lock you in to a contract. This means you can change your tariff whenever you like, without having to pay any early exit fees.
The wholesale cost of energy rises and falls alongside global supply and demand, which is affected by all kinds of factors such as colder weather conditions or global events. So if the energy market becomes unstable, flexible tariffs may end up more costly than a fixed tariff.
A fixed rate tariff means the unit price and standing charges for energy won’t change for the duration of your contract. A fixed tariff locks in the rate you pay for each unit of energy but your monthly bills will go up and down depending on your energy use.
In uncertain times, it can be reassuring to have the certainty of a fixed tariff, and it can also help with managing your budget.
However, if the wholesale price of energy lowers, you won’t see the benefit in your bills. You may also have to pay exit fees if you decide to change or cancel your tariff early.
A prepayment meter allows you to use a pay-as-you-go method for your energy use. This works by paying for your energy ahead of time – either by topping up online or with a token, key or card from your local Post Office or shop where Payzone or PayPoint is available.
To be eligible for a prepayment tariff you’ll need to have a prepayment meter installed in your home - unless you have a smart meter, which can be converted to prepayment without any installation.
Having a prepayment tariff means you’ll pay for the exact amount of energy you use, rather than estimates. It allows you to stay in control of your budgeting by deciding exactly how much to top up, and it’s a good way of avoiding unexpected bills. Prepayment tariffs also don’t require you to have a bank account or a credit check.
However, if you forget to top up or misplace your meter token or card, you could be left without gas or electricity. There also tend to be fewer tariffs to choose from.
We’re offering customers more choice
Up until recently, the high cost of wholesale energy meant we could only offer a limited choice of tariffs.
Now the wholesale price of energy has reduced, we’re pleased to be able to offer a fixed tariff alongside our flexible and prepayment tariffs.
As wholesale energy prices constantly change, the availability of our tariffs is updated regularly. You can find your most up-to-date tariff options in My Account.