- Over 100 fixed energy plans end in February and March, pushing up bills by nearly £400
- The average hike for customers being rolled onto expensive standard variable tariffs (SVTs) will be £134 per year
- Price rises come as UK households turn up their heating to ward off the freezing ‘Beast from the East’
- uSwitch.com urges consumers on fixed plans ending this month to switch and avoid being rolled on to a sky-high standard variable tariff.
Households across the UK could see their energy bills soar by nearly £400 per year as a number of popular fixed deals come to an end, according to uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.
In February 51 popular deals ended, meaning that unless they take action over 200,000 consumers will now be facing higher energy bills. Meanwhile, this month, 24 energy suppliers have 66 fixed rate deals expiring on or before 31st March, affecting at least another 200,000 customers. If they don’t switch, customers on these plans may be automatically rolled over to inflated standard variable tariffs, meaning their bill will rise by an average of £134 per year, or in some cases as much as £376.
The blow to household finances comes as thermostats across the country are being turned up to ward off the snow and freezing temperatures from the ‘Beast from the East’. The bitterly cold weather, which is predicted to last into early March, is the coldest spell the UK has seen in 27 years.
If they take no action, the customers facing the biggest hikes in March are those with Economy Energy (£376), EDF Energy (£280) and First Utility (£269). Ofgem’s rules allow people to switch suppliers without paying exit fees up to 49 days before their plan is ending. If consumers on these deals act now, they can avoid being rolled on to a significantly pricier tariff.
If you or a family member are seriously worried about the cold weather and are concerned about paying your energy bills then get in touch with your energy supplier first and foremost. If you’re in debt to your supplier, ask them to put you on their cheapest deal and discuss an affordable repayment plan with them. Your energy supplier can also advise if you’re eligible for any schemes or grants such as the Warm Home Discount or Winter Fuel Payment, which will help with your energy costs during the colder months.
Shona Eyre, uSwitch.com energy expert, says: “We’ve had an exceptionally cold February and households across the country have been cranking up the heating to stay warm. Using all this extra gas and electricity will inevitably lead to higher energy bills, and for some households this will unfortunately cause real difficulties. And those customers with fixed deals ending in February and March could face a further headache if they suddenly find they’re paying more.
“A record 5.5 million households switched last year, meaning more and more people are shopping around to make sure they keep their bills as low as possible. Due to the deep freeze we’re now enduring, it’s doubly important that consumers whose cheap fixed deals are coming to an end should protect themselves by choosing another cheap tariff. If not, they risk being rolled onto a poor value plan at a time when most of us have the heating turned on for longer than usual.
“In just a few minutes you can compare and switch energy deals, avoiding having to fork out hundreds of pounds more as well as protecting yourself from further price rises for the next 12 months.
“Switching is the first and easiest thing which anyone worried about their energy bills can do. Any households who have serious concerns should also check whether they are eligible for discounts on their energy costs or schemes which insulate their homes, making them easier and cheaper to keep warm.”
Table 1: Fixed deals ending March 2018
|Supplier||Plan||End date||Average price||Rollover plan name||Price increase from fixed plan to rollover plan|
|Economy Energy||Direct Saver 2017 (v3)||15/03/2018||£829.00||Evergreen Direct Saver||£375.77|
|EDF Energy||Blue+Price Freeeeze March 2018||31/03/2018||£861.37||Standard (Variable)||£280.13|
|First Utility||First Fixed March 2018||31/03/2018||£862.37||First Variable||£269.35|
|TOTO Energy||Wholesale Saver||03/03/2018||£932.46||TOTO Smart Plain and Simple||£260.51|
|npower||Online Price Fix March 2018||31/03/2018||£940.53||Standard SC||£225.14|
|Flow Energy||Connect 11 (Fixed April 2018)||31/03/2018||£802.18||Flow Variable||£224.74|
|ScottishPower||Online Fixed Saver March 2018||31/03/2018||£935.52||Standard||£211.93|
|npower||Fixed Energy Online March 2018||31/03/2018||£965.36||Standard SC||£200.31|
|Utility Warehouse||Double Gold Fixed 13||31/03/2018||£904.07||Double Gold||£170.37|
|Extra Energy||Fresh Fixed Price March 2018 v1||31/03/2018||£949.18||Variable Price V2||£162.26|
|Source: uSwitch.com 28 February 2018|
Table 2: Fixed deals ending February 2018
|Supplier||Plan||End date||Fixed plan average price||Rollover plan name||Price increase from fixed plan to rollover plan|
|Co-operative Energy||Co-op Online February 2018||28/02/2018||£861.22||Green Pioneer – DD||£296.28|
|npower||Price Fix February 2018||28/02/2018||£944.68||Standard SC||£220.99|
|First Utility||First Fixed February 2018 (v158)||28/02/2018||£925.26||First Variable||£206.46|
|E.ON||E.ON Saver Fixed 1 Year v7||21/02/2018||£928.64||E.ON Energy Plan||£194.79|
|EDF Energy||Blue+Price Protection Feb18v2||28/02/2018||£954.38||Standard (Variable)||£187.13|
|Source: uSwitch.com 28 February 2018|
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