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Fixed rate energy customers face imminent price shock

Fixed rate energy customers face imminent price shock

Hard pressed households could find themselves up to £318 worse off by failing to take action when their current fixed rate energy deal comes to an end, according to analysis by MoneySuperMarket.

The comparison site highlights a number of fixed rate deals that are about to end over the next month, with bill payers running the risk of a bill hike when reverting to their providers' standard tariff. A number of products from e.on, npower, Scottish Power and EDF Energy are due to end over the coming months which could potentially leave bill payers up to £318 worse off if they allow themselves to be switched to their providers' standard tariff.  With all the talk that energy prices could soon be heading upwards, households who don't act now could face a double bill shock before the end of the year.

Longer term fixed rate tariffs have become a popular offering, with five out of the "Big Six" energy companies offering deals to fix prices long term. EDF Energy in particular is promising new customers that sign up to its Blue+ Price Freeeeze tariff, with an average bill of £1,349.65, that prices will remain unchanged until November 2016. Compared to today's average standard bill, this would cost just £6.02 more but protects against price rises for the next three winters.

Those who are already languishing on their provider's standard tariff can also benefit from big savings and guarantee their energy prices by switching to a fixed deal. M & S Energy Fix & Save September 2014 can save bill payers an impressive £204.69 on average as well as guaranteeing to fix prices until next September.

Common practice has proven that anyone switching to a fixed rate energy deal would usually pay a higher premium in order to lock in their energy prices, however the offering from M & S Energy has an average tariff of £1,139.43 making it the overall market leading deal available at the moment.

Lucy Darch, Head of Energy at MoneySupermarket.com, said: "There are a number of fixed rate energy deals coming to an end over the next month and with rumours abound of imminent price rises, now is the time to act before you see your bills rocket. Most people will be moved onto their provider's standard price plan unless they take action so in order to avoid a bill shock it's well worth taking five minutes to find a new deal. There are a number of fixed rate products available to customers over the short and long term with savings up to £204 to be made by switching.

"Energy suppliers have a duty to inform their fixed customers 30 days before a tariff is about to end, however as it takes approximately six weeks to switch, it is best to strike first and start the process early. If you haven't received a notification from your provider yet but think your tariff ends soon, contact them immediately to find out the date your current deal expires.

"Our energy comparison tool is a quick and simple way to find out which deal is the best for you and with prices expected to continue to rise, we recommend bill payers act now and opt for a fixed online deal, to safeguard from future price rises. You might pay slightly more initially but over the term of the deal it will probably offer better value for money.

"As well as saving money by switching tariff it's also worth thinking about how you use energy at home. Making simple changes such as doing your washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 or 60, and turning appliances off as opposed to leaving them on standby, can result in significant savings over the year."

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George Bailey