The UK’s energy bills could rise by a collective £426 million this summer as hundreds of fixed energy plans come to an end.
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There are 276 fixed plans from 37 energy suppliers set to end across July, August and September, causing energy customers’ bills to rise if they don’t take action soon.
Almost 1.6 million households could be affected, with an average bill increase of £269 - although some could see their energy prices skyrocket by up to £439.
Households that haven’t switched in a year or more are most likely to be affected as their fixed plan ends and they are automatically placed onto their supplier’s standard or default tariff.
Rik Smith, energy expert at Uswitch, said: “Energy bills might not be front of mind just as everyone is about to head off on their summer holidays. But over one and a half million households could be in for a nasty shock when they get home if they don’t act now.
Our video explains how fixed plans work and why your plan’s end date is one to keep in your diary:
Hi! If you’re on a fixed rate tariff, the date it ends is one you definitely need to put in your diary. Here’s why. With a fixed rate tariff, the fee you pay per unit of energy, and the daily standing charge, are set in stone for the duration of the plan. When your fixed plan comes to an end, it’s likely you’ll be rolled onto a standard plan. Standard plans are often more expensive than fixed plans and normally are variable, meaning you have the risk that energy fees can go up or down. This means that your bills could increase and you end up paying more for the same energy.
It's a good option to lock in a fixed rate around the same as - or cheaper than - the rate you’re paying now to save more and maintain your peace of mind.
When does my fixed plan end?
Your fixed plan will end on a set date, but you don’t need to wait until then to switch. You can move to a new plan 49 days before your current plan ends without paying an exit fee. Your supplier should let you know when your plan is coming to an end, but you don't have to wait to receive the reminder. If you’re within the 49-day limit, you can still check your bill or run a comparison.
What are you waiting for?
How easy is it to switch?
It generally takes 21 days to switch, but the process can be quicker. You won’t be charged twice or be without an energy supply at any point, so your switch should be completed without any issues. And remember, switching the plan you’re on doesn't always mean changing the supplier - if you’re happy with the supplier you’re with, they might have a cheaper tariff available you can switch to, rather than their default plan.
To find a new fixed rate, use Uswitch to make sure you’re getting a deal that matches your needs. Go to uswitch.com to get started.
Those who switched their energy this time last year are reminded to take action now as their fixed plans expire - and they can switch without paying exit fees if their tariff comes to an end in the next 49 days.
Rik Smith said: “There was more than one price rise a week during 2018, and many of those who switched to escape the onslaught then are now seeing their fixed price plans coming to an end. It’s time to take action to avoid being rolled onto an expensive standard tariff. People who switch to a fixed deal this time should also sign up for a reminder to alert them when their plan is next due to expire - to keep you firmly in control of who you give your hard-earned money to.”