Uswitch is warning that half a million homes in the UK will see their energy bills rise by up to £269 by the end of April, if they don't switch to a new energy deal.
That's because when your fixed energy deal ends - and almost 100 fixed tariffs are set to end in the coming days - your supplier will automatically move you on to its standard variable rate tariff if you do not switch provider. These are usually the worst value deals and could add up to £269 to your bill, says Uswitch.
The price comparison service says that 90 fixed energy deals are due to end in a few days - and a further 60 will finish next month. This will affect half a million homes in April alone, adding an average of £103 to bills. But customers with deals ending at Ovo Energy, npower and British Gas could see bigger increases of £269, £174 and £168 respectively.
However, you can avoid your energy bills going up by running a quick energy comparison to find the best energy deals in your area, and switching before your tariff ends.
“The gap between the price cap and the cheapest deal hasn’t been this wide for more than half a year and means there are huge potential savings for thousands of homes. The cheapest fixed tariffs are getting cheaper still, with tumbling wholesale costs and suppliers driving down prices to attract new customers,” said Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch.com.
“With household energy usage on the increase during lockdown, no one wants to pay more than they need to. Don’t let yourself slip unwittingly into a price hike. You can compare what energy deals are out there and see if there is a cheaper plan you can move to.”
Is my fixed tariff ending?
You’ll know if your tariff is about to end because your supplier will have written to you to tell you. They should give you plenty of time to shop around for the best energy deals before it ends.
You should also be able to tell by logging into your energy supplier's website to check. Some tariffs even have the end-date on the name, and could be called something like '1 year fix energy April 2020'.
But you don’t have to wait for your fixed energy tariff to end before you switch.
When can I switch?
You can usually switch energy supplier any time you want, but you may have to pay exit fees if you change supplier in the middle of a contract. They're usually around £30 per fuel, but can vary. The savings can be much higher than the cost of the exit fees, but do make sure you check this before you make a decision.
Alternatively, once you reach 49 days before the end of your fixed rate deal, you’ll be withing your 'switching window' and allowed to switch without being charged exit fees.
When is the best time to switch?
It will take at least 17 days for your switch to be completed, so you keep this in mind and try to switch at least 17 days before your fixed deal ends. If you’re very proactive, you can switch as soon as you receive notice from your supplier that your fixed tariff is ending - but make sure it’s no more than 49 days before the end date, or you may have to pay unnecessary exit fees.
How much can I save?
You could save at up to £280 if you switch energy suppliers. That’s according to MoneySuperMarket, who we partner with on our energy comparison tool. They found that 51% of customers that applied to switch could save at least £289.40 in March 2020.