This week could see millions of households hit with higher energy bills as close to 100 fixed-price energy deals come to an end. This coincides with a rise in the energy price cap, potentially affecting the finances of vast numbers of people. According to some officials, some people could see their energy bills increase by more than £300 a year if they move onto standard variable tariffs.
Households are being urged to start shopping around and switch to a cheaper deal as quickly as possible, as the current deals are set to end on Thursday. This could pose a problem for some people, as officials from renewable energy company Pure Planet estimate that around 7% of energy customers do not know how to switch.
Using a comparison site to make the switch
Energy experts have said energy bill payers should act as quickly as possible to switch their deals and providers. Typically, a switch can take up to two weeks, so even a short delay will increase bills, albeit for just a few days. Energy customers are urged to use price comparison sites, which can help them change their energy provider with far greater speed and ease. Alternatively, experts advise those who are not tech-savvy to get someone they trust to switch on their behalf.
One energy official said, “Whether you're looking to make a switch yourself or help someone else save money on their gas and electricity tariff, it's a really simple process. All that's needed is the address, direct debit details and some personal information, such as name, date of birth, and email address.”
With finances for many households already tight due to people being furloughed or losing their jobs because of the pandemic, this sharp increase in energy costs could hit many hard. By making the switch as quickly as possible, many households currently on fixed deals can avoid seeing their gas and electricity prices going up by potentially hundreds of pounds a year.
Concerns over switching
Experts said that some people might not be keen on switching to a different supplier. However, they can still contact their current supplier and ask to be switched over to a cheaper tariff to avoid seeing costs increase.
There are concerns that the ongoing restrictions on visiting loved ones could make it difficult for some consumers to ask others for help if needed. However, energy officials have pointed out that people can make the switch by phone as well as online, which may be an easier option for some people.