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Bill payers beware - fixed energy deals coming to an end

17th February 2015 Print

With 31 fixed rate energy tariffs coming to an end before the end of May, hundreds of thousands of homeowners need to take action and switch to avoid being stung by huge bill hikes, warns MoneySuperMarket. Customers on these tariffs are likely to face automatic price hikes of up to £168 unless they take action soon and switch to a deal better suited to their needs.

When a fixed rate energy deal expires, providers will roll customers on to an alternative product – typically their standard offering which is usually one of their most expensive products. Of the 31 fixed rate tariffs nearing their expiry date, eight are due to expire at the end of February including deals from British Gas, EDF Energy, npower and Scottish Power. British Gas customers on the expiring Fixed Price Feb 2015 product will see their average annual bill increase by £100 if they fail to switch to a cheaper deal, while those on npower’s Online Price Fix February 2015 will see bills rise by a huge £163 more from March.

However, it’s never too late to shop around for a better deal. By using a price comparison site like MoneySuperMarket, households can save up to £210 and may find a tariff cheaper than their current expiring one. For example, Extra Energy’s Fresh Fixed Price Feb 2016 v10 tariff has an average annual bill of £913.18.

Some providers however will charge a penalty to households leaving their current deals before the fixed term ends, so customers will need to carefully time their switch, as exit fees can cost as much as £30 per fuel if you switch too early. However, if your fixed deal is coming to an end providers cannot charge you an exit fee if you switch 42 days before the tariff ends.

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket  said: “Unfortunately for customers with tariffs ending in February, prolonged switching periods mean that they may experience a few weeks of higher prices until their switch completes, so it’s more important than ever that homeowners put the cogs into motion and shop around to cut costs now.

“With over 30 tariffs ending over the next few months, hundreds of thousands of households could be affected, facing price rises of up to £168. Having just come out of a season of energy price-cuts, it will be interesting to see where consumers switch to, as fixed-rate tariffs are typically most popular when we’re in a climate of rising prices. Shopping around for a new tariff can deliver savings of up to £210 so it’s definitely worth taking action sooner rather than later.”