Energy bills to rise as fixed tariffs end

Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA.

Millions of customers are at risk of seeing a hike in their energy bills at the height of winter, experts have warned.

MoneySuperMarket said 94 fixed tariffs will end before 31 December, impacting millions who may automatically roll onto a default standard variable tariff.

Ofgem’s new price cap level came into force last week, setting the maximum price suppliers can charge for each unit of energy. The cap is now at £1,179 for the average customer on a standard or default tariff – more than the level at which it was first introduced in January.

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However, those who switch from a standard variable tariff to a fixed deal could save £238 or more on their annual bills.

About 32 fixed tariffs are due to expire at the end of October – 28 in November and a further 34 in December.

“Big six” suppliers British Gas and EDF Energy are among those with tariffs ending between now and the end of December, alongside emerging suppliers including Co-operative Energy, Shell Energy, and PFP Energy.

READ MORE: Energy customers “overpaying by £2.2bn annually despite price cap”

Standard variable tariffs tend to be the most expensive, as prices can fluctuate in line with the market. However, fixed rate tariffs are set for a period of time and provide peace of mind as a result.

Many of the deals ending include exit fees, but customers are often unaware that they are allowed to switch suppliers within six weeks of the tariff end date without being charged a penalty fee.

This means those with a fixed rate tariff ending in October and November can start shopping around for a competitive tariff now.

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Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of being placed onto an expensive standard variable or default tariff. If you’re on a fixed rate tariff that’s coming to an end, you should act now to lock in another fixed rate deal, so you can avoid being stung by price rises over the colder months.

“While Ofgem may have introduced a lower price cap level last week, the fact remains that standard variable and default tariffs are often hundreds of pounds more expensive than fixed rate deals.

“Switching from your standard tariff – whether it’s to a new provider or onto a different tariff with your current supplier – is easy. It takes five minutes online and could save you £238 in the process. What’s more, you don’t need to wait until the tariff expires. You can do it now.”