Time running out to secure a competitive fixed price energy deal
Time is running out for consumers to snap up a cheap energy deal and to protect themselves from potential price hikes this winter, says uSwitch.com. The warning comes as First Utility pulls its market-leading iSave Fixed v3 plan off the market with immediate effect. This plan, at £1,040 a year, was the cheapest on the market, offering consumers a competitive price with a fixed price guarantee until the end of 2013.
It has left ScottishPower's Online Fixed Price Energy January 2014 at £1,052 a year as the cheapest plan on the market. However, ScottishPower has now revealed that it is pulling this plan too and replacing it with one that, at £1,099 a year, is £47 more expensive. This new deal, Online Fixed Price Energy March 2014 guarantees prices for the next two winters and, just like its predecessor, doesn't carry any exit penalties. This is important as it leaves consumers with the flexibility to switch again in the future should a better deal come onto the market.
However, at £1,099 a year, the new ScottishPower plan is not the cheapest energy plan on the market. This is now Sainsbury's Energy's Online variable September 2013 plan, which at £1,068 a year comes in £31 a year cheaper than ScottishPower's fixed price deal.
Today's moves on the energy market will be worrying for consumers. One of the most popular fixed price deals - EDF Energy Blue + Price Promise April 2014 - was removed at the end of August. This too had no exit penalties and its removal has left consumers looking for peace of mind coupled with no exit penalties with a dwindling range of options.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: "What First Utility and ScottishPower's moves today mean is that consumers who want to fix their energy prices cannot afford to hang around. The cost of fixed price plans is creeping upwards and exit penalties are creeping back in. The fact is that consumers acting now are still able to get an exceptional deal - a low price, coupled with a price guarantee and no exit penalties. But what is now extremely clear is that this type of offer is not going to be around for long."