‘Don’t take price increases lying down’ 218,000 households face a price rise this month

Working from home: Expert explains how to claim for energy bills

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In May 2021, 157 fixed rate tariffs will end, potentially affecting more than 218,000 households. According to new research by comparethemarket.com, it could mean an average increase to energy bills of £280 per household.

There is a risk that the price increase will be something some bill-payers find themselves faced with, as they are automatically moved onto more expensive ‘default’ energy tariffs this month.

It could be avoided though, by switching tariffs or providers when the current deals come to an end.

Analysis from comparethemarket.com found that if customers don’t switch when their fixed tariff ends, energy companies are set to benefit from a huge “inertia windfall”.

The price comparison website said rolling off fixed term deals onto default tariffs could collectively cost UK households an extra £61million per year, compared to current energy costs.

Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “Each month hundreds of thousands of households risk falling onto a standard variable tariff which means many end up paying more than they should do.

“Energy companies are the only ones to benefit.

“The good news is that customers do not have to take these price increases lying down.

“It takes very little time to put your details in and find a new deal that could potentially save you hundreds of pounds.”

In order to avoid rolling onto a standard variable tariff (SVT), comparethemarket.com customers can set up a savings alert, letting AutoSergei do the legwork.

Last month, green energy company Bulb warned millions of Britons will overpay by £80 on average this year when cheap energy deals end.

It has been branded a loyalty tax, as customers who see their fixed-term deals end, are automatically defaulted to more expensive standard rates.

This works out as a total cost of more than £1billion for UK households.

As a consequence, Bulb is urging customers to see if they can save by switching to a supplier which doesn’t have a “loyalty tax”.

Hayden Wood, Co-founder and CEO of Bulb, said: “Millions of households will pay over the odds this year through no fault of their own.

“This loyalty tax is unfair and hits vulnerable and elderly customers the worst.

“As a loyal customer, you should never be charged more, whether it’s for a coffee, the weekly shop or your energy bill, which is why at Bulb we don’t use hidden charges or penalise loyal customers for staying with us.”

Elsewhere, bill-payers have been warned they could be among 13 million households who are owed a total of £1.8billion in credit balances.

Among them, more than one million are due more than £300, according to new research from Uswitch.com.

Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com comments: “At a time when many people’s finances are stretched any windfall would be gratefully received.

“A growing credit balance can be a sign that a customer’s direct debit is too high – yet a third of those in credit say their supplier has never adjusted their payment.

“It’s clear that Ofgem’s proposal to introduce automatic rebates will benefit a huge number of consumers, particularly those who do not know how much credit they have, or do not know how to obtain a refund.

“Many people who have been affected financially by the pandemic may be looking for ways to save money, and it’s worth checking with your supplier to see if you are owed any money following your most recent bill being paid.

“It’s also important to provide regular meter readings to your energy supplier if you do not have a smart meter. This will make it easier for your supplier to see if you are using less energy than predicted, and they may reduce your direct debit payments.

“If you are out of contract with your supplier, you could also save yourself money by switching to a cheaper deal.”

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