beat the energy chills price increases

Beat the energy chills this winter


It’s been a wonderful summer, but it can’t last forever. The nights are drawing in, winter will soon be upon us, and you know what that means. That’s right, your gas and electricity bills will go through your roof.


How much do UK families spend on energy?

The average household pays £1,247 a year for energy, more than £100 a month, and some analysts predict bills could rise another 10% this winter.

Yet with a little effort, you could save between £200 and £400 a year on your home utility bills, by switching to a cheaper supplier. If you’ve never switched before, you might be surprised how straightforward it is, and how much you can save.


How to save money on your energy now!

The quickest way to switch is to visit a price comparison site, which allows you to compare the best deals on the market within minutes, and switch to the deal you like best. Yet more than 4 out of 10 of us make little or no effort to switch, despite the savings on offer, according to new research from uSwitch. Many people don’t switch because they think it is trickier than it really is.

Now is a particularly good time to consider shopping around for a cheaper supplier, as a number of energy companies have launched new tariffs aimed at households worrying how to pay their winter fuel bills–and not just this year. If you’ve been sitting on your utility supplier’s standard tariff for a number of years, you can almost certainly find a better cheaper deal.

Suppliers typically reserve their best deals for customers who select an online tariff, with online billing. Paying by monthly direct debit may also cut your charges.

You can also save money by taking out a dual-fuel deal, where you get both your gas and electricity from the same supplier. An increasingly popular option is to consider a fixed rate, which will protect you from future charging hikes for a set period.


Fixed Rate Bills

Although variable rates have traditionally been far more popular, some newly-launched fixed rates are actually cheaper, and also give you peace of mind for between 1 and 3 years (although your bill will still increase if your actual usage rises).

Current leading fixed-rate energy tariffs include:

  • First:Utility: iSave September 2014 (average dual-fuel tariff £1,225 a year)
  • Npower: Online Price Fix October 2014 plan (£1,181 a year)
  • EDF: Blue+Price Freeeeze November 2016 tariff (£1,350 a year)
  • ScottishPower: Help Beat Cancer Fixed Price Energy January 2017, which includes a £10 donation to Cancer Research UK (also £1,350 a year).

When choosing between tariffs, watch out for exit penalties if you wish to switch to another deal or supplier during the term of the fix.

First:Utility charges £60 if you switch your gas and electricity tariff or supplier, ScottishPower charges £50 if you switch supplier. The Npower and EDF deals don’t have any penalties.

If we get a repeat of last winter’s big freeze, you might be glad you took time to fix your energy costs when the sun was still shining.

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