Five of the biggest energy providers in the UK have announced they are increasing the cost of their energy tariffs from October, but it is still possible to save on your bills.
Recent weeks have seen EDF, SSE, British Gas, Scottish Power and E.On all confirm plans to raise their standard variable tariff prices by around 12%, in line with the increase to Ofgem’s price cap. On average, customers on these tariffs will see their bills rise by £139 a year, to an annual cost of £1,277, which is the same as the price cap.
The price rises are due to a rise in the wholesale cost of energy following a series of national lockdowns, with gas prices in particular reaching record highs.
Gareth Kloet of GoCompare Energy said: “It’s important to remember that these increases do not come into effect until October 1st, so there’s still time to switch. Also, if you want to secure your prices now, longer term fixed rate deals are there to offer security for the next 12 months or even two years, therefore protecting yourself from further increases.
“Our latest research revealed that 29% – almost a third of people – have never switched their energy provider at all so there’s a chance that a third of households could be overpaying on their energy bills.”
Savings from switching can be substantial. According to energy switching service energyhelpline.com, the top 10% of savers who switched via its service between January and June this year saved at least £328. A spokesman from energyhelpline.com agreed that fixed rate tariffs can provide energy users with protection from price hikes. He said: “Switching to a fixed deal locks in the price you pay per unit of energy, protecting you from the price cap’s effect on variable tariffs.”
Switching numbers down
According to latest figures from the energy industry’s trade body Energy UK, so far this year a total of 3.4m customers have changed energy supplier, 1% fewer compared to the equivalent period in 2021.
Emma Pinchbeck, Energy UK’s chief executive, said: “Despite a fall in the numbers compared to July 2020, we’re still seeing the best part of half a million customers switching each month. And while the monthly figures are more volatile than in the past, the overall numbers are nearly keeping track with last year.
“Although higher wholesale costs are affecting fixed term deals, it’s still worth taking a few minutes to see if you can save money – either by talking to your own supplier or looking at what’s on offer in the rest of the market.”
If you are planning to switch suppliers, check whether the provider you’re moving to has signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee. This means that the provider promises there won’t be any disruption to your service when you move, and that it should take no more than 21 days to make the switch.