Should you stick or switch your energy tariffs?
- Credit: Brittany Woodman
Amid the cost of living crisis, many people have been left wondering whether to stick or switch their energy tariffs.
Lots of consumers are paying considerably more for gas and electricity than they were a year ago and with another surge expected in October, it has led to questions about whether to stay on the price cap or lock into a fixed energy tariff.
What should I do about the energy price rise?
Martyn James, consumer rights expert for Resolver, believes the choice faced by householders is not straightforward but that there are a few important things to keep in mind.
He said: "The deals out there are also rather limited and have caveats, so I can’t emphasise this enough: Read everything, check all the catches, speak to the firm and confirm your understanding before signing up and ask about exit fees and charges."
What if I can't decide to fix my energy tariff?
Money saving expert Martin Lewis has urged consumers to not take deals that are over 35pc of the current price cap – or 40pc at the very most.
According to the latest data by Cornwall Insight, experts say bills could rise from today's record £1,971 to £3,245 in October before jumping to £3,364 at the beginning of next year.
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The forecasts are based on what an average household will spend on gas and electricity in a year. A household that buys more energy will see higher bills, and vice versa.
It comes after energy bills rose 54pc for the average household in April.
Mr James believes there are lots of things to factor in when making a decision - adding people "shouldn't jump" if already on a fixed deal.
"We don’t all have the ‘average’ energy bill, so our personal circumstances make a difference," he said.
"If you’re already on a fixed deal, don’t jump yet as chances are it’s much cheaper than what you could be paying when the deal ends," he added.
"But why not contact your energy provider in advance and ask them if they have any deals in place to cover you when it ends."
What support is available to help with my energy bills?
The government announced a new energy bill support package which is worth about £400 to almost all households, and more than £1,000 to some. It will apply on a price-capped tariff or if you fix.
However, there are still many who are finding paying bills challenging.
If this is the case, consumers are urged to talk to suppliers as early as possible because under Ofgem rules - they have to help. This can usually be done by negotiating an affordable payment plan.