No such thing as free electricity, warn price comparers

Everyone loves getting something for nothing, especially when that something is actually worth having.

So when British Gas announced last week that…

Everyone loves getting something for nothing, especially when that something is actually worth having.

So when British Gas announced last week that it was giving away free electricity at weekends, it was easy to understand why much of the UK population sat up and took notice.

However, before you rush off to switch supplier, it’s worth taking a closer look at how much power you actually use and how much you pay for it because it may not be the best deal for everyone, some price comparison websites have suggested.

Under British Gas’ new plan, named FreeTime, customers with a smart meter installed at their home won’t be charged for any electricity used between 9am and 5pm on Saturday or  Sunday (emphasis on the ‘or’) until March 2018.

British Gas hails the plan as “ground-breaking” and “an industry first”, claiming that customers could save £60 a year on average.

However, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and it will only suit certain customers.

Peter Earl, head of energy at price comparison site CompareTheMarket.com, slammed the plan as “a gimmick dressed as a headline grabber”.

He said that when compared to other fixed tariffs, the FreeTime plan wasn’t very competitive and that most households would save more every year by simply seeking out the most suitable plan for them; £171 on average, almost triple the saving available with FreeTime.

MoneySupermarket agrees that shopping around for a plan that suits is the way to go, adding that customers could hack more than £300 from their energy bills.

GoCompare also urged British Gas customers to carefully assess their current plan before jumping ship.

“There’s little point having free electricity for eight hours a week if it will cost more than other tariffs available to you when you do pay for the electricity you use”, said a GoCompare spokesman.    

To really underline the benefit of seeking out the best deal, they added that out of the top ten dual fuel tariffs currently available, none come from the ‘big six’ suppliers, with the annual cost sitting below £770.

“Spending a few minutes comparing the tariffs available can be time very well spent,” they concluded.

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