Ask @uSwitchUK: A collection of your questions about price rises
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After several energy price rises in 2013, we ran a Q&A session on Twitter to help clear up exactly how they might affect you.
We’ve selected a few of the most common questions to help guide you through gas and electricity price hikes at any time, and what you can do about them.
If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, have a look at our extensive list of energy guides or get in touch with us on @uSwitchUK.
Q:Why are suppliers upping their gas and electricity prices?
A: (From 2013) Energy suppliers have blamed rising wholesale prices, distribution costs and government levies for the increases. Despite this, many have questioned the extent of the increase.
Q: I’m looking to switch providers soon - when’s the best time? Should I wait till after every company has raised prices?
A: The best time to switch is now. At the moment there are a number of competitive fixed price deals out there which are likely to disappear soon.
Questions about fixed price energy tariffs
Q: What’s the point of switching when the rest of the energy suppliers will increase prices in the next few weeks anyway?
A: The point is that you can avoid the hikes by locking your bills now, for up to three winters, by switching to a fixed price tariff.
Q: Does fixed price mean I pay a set amount per month or the units stay at a fixed price?
A: The unit price will stay fixed.
Q: How do I find out which supplier is cheapest?
A:To find out which supplier is cheapest for you, simply run a comparison here and choose "See plans that require switching directly through the supplier to see the open market.
Q: We switched to a supplier before they said they would raise prices. Will prices stay fixed at previous rate for us?
A: Unless you picked a fixed tariff, your bills will go up. If you switched recently, there's usually a two week cooling off period to cancel your switch. Or simply switch away from your new supplier, who will often honour your rates until your switch goes through.
Q:Hi, my supplier has announced a price rise. Can you help?
A: You can either stay with the same supplier and tariff and pay a higher price for your energy, or run a comparison here and find a cheaper deal. You should consider switching supplier to a fixed price tariff that freezes your energy unit price.
Q: If I freeze my bill, what happens if the competition lower their prices next spring/summer? Do I lose out?
A: If prices decrease, you'd be paying over the odds. But if there's no cancellation or exit fee, you're free to switch to a competitor's cheaper plan.
Q: Can you freeze your energy bill at the rate before the price hike?
A: No, but when you run a comparison here you'll be able to look for fixed deals that match or beat its rates.
Q:Can I fix my energy prices if I rent a property?
A: In most cases, yes. You can find more info in our guide on your rights as a tenant.
General switching queries
Q @uSwitchTech What’s the cheapest deal on gas and electricity?
A This really depends on your personal circumstances. The easiest way to find out is to run a quick comparison here.
Q @uSwitchUK The house I've moved into is on a standard tariff with no tie-in, can I leave quickly?
A Yes - you can switch right now. But it can take about 17 days (as of Jan 2015) for the changeover to be completed.
Q @uSwitchUK I want to switch to save money but person named on my current bills is too ill to be involved in process. How can I switch?
A You need to call your current supplier, explain the situation and request that the bill payer details be changed. Then you’ll be able to switch.
Q @uSwitchUK I'm with one supplier for both electricity and gas, do you think I’d be better off with another company. I'm using prepay meters.
A It depends entirely on your usage and circumstances. Enter your post code here and follow the steps to find out. The fact that you are using prepayment meters limits your options but you can still switch, just remember to select the 'prepayment' option when we ask how you pay your bill and how you would like to pay your bill.
*Twitter handles have been removed and some comments may have been modified for clarity and to adhere to our copy guidelines.