Nearly 70 fixed rate energy tariffs are due to come to an end this Sunday (31 January), leaving customers potentially facing much steeper bills unless they act now.
Nearly half a million households will be affected when the 68 fixed energy tariffs finish at the end of this month, according to comparison site Uswitch.com. It estimates that bills could rise by £171 on average each year for customers who automatically roll onto their providers’ standard variable tariffs rather than switching.
Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “It is also likely that the energy price cap will increase from April, meaning bills are likely to become more expensive. This makes it even more important that people who are about to move onto a standard variable tariff switch suppliers now.”
Latest figures from Energy UK show that six million customers switched last year, but many people still stick with their current provider, despite the savings they could make by switching to a better deal.
Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “Households are likely to be in for a shock when they come to pay their energy bills after a winter spent in lockdown. Switching provider may not have been front of mind for many over the past year, but shopping around is the best way to bring down costs, especially for those financially squeezed.”
Get help with your bills
As well as making sure you’re on the most competitive energy tariff possible, it’s also worth checking to see if you’re eligible for any financial help with your energy bills. For example, if you receive the State Pension and you were born on or before 5 October 1954, you should automatically receive a Winter Fuel Payment of between £100 and £300 to help you pay your energy bills.
If you’re struggling to cover your heating costs, get in touch with your energy supplier as soon as possible and let them know you’re finding it difficult to pay. They may be able to arrange a more affordable way for you to repay what you owe, or let you take a break from payments for a short time until you’re able o get back on track.
It’s also worth exploring government schemes which could help you pay for home energy efficiency improvements, such as roof or cavity wall insulation, as reducing your property’s energy consumption can help cut your heating bills. The Energy Saving Trust can advise on benefits and grants for home insulation, and Simple Energy Advice can also provide you with information on grants that might be available in your area.
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Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive at Energy UK said: The best way to save on energy bills in the long term is to improve the energy efficiency of your home. This can save hundreds of pounds and make homes more comfortable to live in – all while cutting our contribution to climate change.”