Now might be a good time to switch your energy provider - here’s why
With the nights growing darker and colder, you may find yourself using more energy as autumn turns to winter.
However, research by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket has found that 107 fixed rate energy tariffs are coming to an end over November and December.
But does this mean you have to do anything when your tariff ends, and will it cost more money?
Here’s what you need to know.
107 energy tariffs coming to an end
MoneySuperMarket advises customers on the tariffs which are due to end soon to take action in order to avoid overpaying, which could happen if they roll onto their provider’s expensive standard variable or default tariff.
The deals ending are provided by the traditional ‘Big 6’ energy suppliers, including British Gas and EDF, alongside newer competitors, such as Octopus.
EDF’s Energy+Boiler Care Nov20 tariff ends on 30 November, and its Simply Online 1 Year Fix Dec20v3 comes to and end on 31 December.
First Utility’s First Fixed November 2020 v3 also ends on 30 November, with its First Control December 2020 v3 tariff finishing on 31 December.
MoneySuperMarket explains that previous figures show the average of the top 10 tariffs in mid-November 2019 was £878.
Using this, they have calculated that if customers drop on to the standard variable or default tariffs - which will be at the cap level of £1,042 - then they will be looking at an increased spend of about £165.
EON Fix Online v19 was at £895, so this would see an increase of £147.
Avro Simple and Supersave was at £891, so would see a £151 increase, and Outfox the Market was at £858, and would therefore see a £184 increase.
Can I switch suppliers?
Many of the 107 fixed rate deals ending over the next two months include exit fees, but customers are able to switch suppliers within 49 days of their tariff end date without being charged a fee. This means that those with a fixed rate tariff ending in November and December can start shopping around for a competitive tariff.
Although gas and electricity regulator Ofgem’s energy price cap limits what suppliers can charge customers (per unit of gas or electricity) on standard tariffs, customers could save on average £169 by switching to the cheapest fixed rate tariff, says MoneySuperMarket.
There are currently 76 available tariffs that are cheaper than the current cap level of £1,042, based on average consumption.
According to Ofgem, more than half of UK households have never switched or have only switched once, and are on more expensive ‘default’ and ‘standard variable’ tariffs as a result. This means that many households are often paying hundreds of pounds more for expensive tariffs.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said, “With many households’ finances under increasing pressure, ensuring you’re paying the lowest rate for your energy is a simple step you can take to reduce your bills.
“If you’re on one of the 107 fixed rate tariffs that’s coming to an end over November and December, make sure you shop around for new tariff options and don’t slip onto your supplier’s costly default tariff. Despite Ofgem’s new lower price cap of £1,042, many tariffs are up to £169 cheaper than Ofgem’s price ceiling.”
How can I switch?
If you’re considering switching energy suppliers, then it’s worth shopping around to find the best tariff and deal for you.
Citizens Advice explains that it’s usually best to choose a 'fixed’ or 'capped’ tariff if you’re fine with signing a contract for a set period of time. The cost of your energy won’t go up for the length of your contract, so your bills will only change if you use more or less energy.
However, if you don’t want to be tied into a contract - or are planning on moving house soon - then you can get a ‘standard’ or ‘variable’ tariff. This allows you to switch to a different tariff or supplier in order to get a better deal at any time without being charged.
Once you have chosen your new supplier and energy tariff, you will then need to confirm your contract and how you plan to pay. Paying by Direct Debit can usually save you more money, explains Ofgem.
The switching process will then start, and your new supplier will be in touch to confirm your switch over date. This can take up to 21 days, but, in most cases, it’s around 17 days.
If you change your mind, you have 14 days to cancel from the date you agree to a contract, but you must contact the supplier in order to cancel the contract.