It may be summer, but act now - due to an energy price war it's possible to sort your energy bills for the next two winters.
What’s happening to prices?
It’s been months since the big six energy providers last announced price rises. But in its inflation report, the Bank of England has predicted prices could rise this winter.
Far more importantly though, millions are still overpaying for energy. A typical home on a standard tariff pays £1,310, yet switch to a cheap tariff and it can drop to £1,040 for the SAME gas, SAME electricity and SAME safety. The only difference is the customer service and price changes.
You say prices aren’t moving but we’re in the middle of a price war?
That’s because it’s not standard bills that are changing, but the best buy deals to try to attract customers who are switching. We’ve seen a host of new competitive ones trying to grab custom.
If you want to lock in a cheap price for two winters, the new EDF Blue tariff is near the cheapest on the market, but won’t top the best buy tables. Yet the killer features are that it’s fixed until April 2014, it has no exit penalties if you want to leave early and it promises to email you if another provider launches a tariff £52/year cheaper.
Scottish Power’s shorter November 2013 fix is slightly cheaper, also has no exit penalties and it seems to have a £40 cashback deal doing the rounds on certain comparison sites, (so you need to chose the right site on the right day to get it) which really makes it cheap.
The very cheapest fix is from First Utility - it’s about £20 a year cheaper than EDF’s Blue tariff on average for a typical user who pays by monthly direct debit (although it depends on region), yet it will levy penalties on you if you leave early.
Is it worth fixing right now though?
Unusually, one of these cheap fixes costs less than the cheapest variable deal (according to energy price comparison site Energyhelpline). As neither EDF nor Scottish Power have exit penalties, if things change, you can ditch. So why wouldn't you fix?
As for price predictions, industry insiders are split. Some say up, some down, some no change. But as I always say, a fix is an insurance policy against price hikes. So if you can’t afford those, you should definitely consider fixing.
What’s the best way to find a new tariff?
While I’ve picked three tariffs out, you should always ensure you do a proper price check, as the cost varies with your region and usage. So plug your details into a Consumer Focus approved comparison site to check the deals above actually save you money – and which is cheapest for you.
If possible, also pay by fixed monthly direct debit to get a discount, and do regular meter readings to keep it accurate.
If you don't have gas, don't think the rules are different. You can still compare, switch and save. If you’re moving home, you'll first need to connect to the past occupier's supplier. After that, you can switch.
Prepay meter users can save too. A credit meter (where you get bills) is cheaper, so first find out if you’re allowed to convert and how much it will cost you. Some don't charge. If you can’t afford to switch to a credit meter, you can still save by using a comparison site to see if there is a cheaper prepay tariff.
Daily updated hints, tips and money help from Martin Lewis at MoneySavingExpert.com