Press release:

£400 price rise in store as ‘Beast from the East’ causes UK to freeze

  • Over 100 fixed energy plans end in February and March[1], pushing up bills by nearly £400[2]
  • The average hike for customers being rolled onto expensive standard variable tariffs (SVTs) will be £134 per year[1]
  • 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[2] 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[3]. Meanwhile, this month, 24 energy suppliers have 66 fixed rate deals expiring on or before 31st March, affecting at least another 200,000 customers[3]. 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[1], or in some cases as much as £376[2].

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[5].

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)[1]. Ofgem’s rules allow people to switch suppliers without paying exit fees up to 49 days before their plan is ending[6]. 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

 

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

— ends —

Notes to editors

  1. Average of 116 fixed deals ending in February and March 2018 is £134.42
  2. See Table 1 above
  3. Source: uSwitch.com, contact barr@switch.com for more information
  4. See Table 2 above
  5. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britain-facing-coldest-spell-27-12093604
  6. https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/energy-tariff-ending/
  7. https://www.energy-uk.org.uk/press-releases/412-2018/6526-energy-switching-hits-record-high-in-2017.html

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG, which operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions including Zoopla, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.

If you would no longer like to receive our press releases please email prteam@uswitch.com with 'unsubscribe'.