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United Kingdom

More than 1.5million households could see energy bills rocket by up to £439 

Households across the UK could see their energy bills soar by as much as £439 as hundreds of fixed price tariffs come to an end, new data has revealed.

A massive 276 fixed price energy deals from 37 energy suppliers will end between July and September, according to new research from price comprison site uSwitch.com.

Bills are increasing for 1.6million households this summer meaning prices will rocket by a collective £426million – if customers don't switch onto another fixed tariff.

Any customer who is on a fixed tariff that is due to come to an end will automatically be rolled onto a default standard variable tariff, which are typically among the worst value energy plans.

Hundreds of fixed price deals are coming to an end this summer, increasing bills for customers

The average increase per household is £269 but customers supplied by iSupply, Ovo and Green Network Energy will see increased annual hikes of £439, £367 and £342, respectively.

USwitch used its own data to analyse all of the energy deals currently on the market. 

It calculated the average increase per household as £426,293,380, which is the total tariff increase, divided by 1,585,600, which is the total number of households affected, equating to an average increase of £268.85 per home. 

Many of those affected by the tariffs coming to an end are likely to have switched to their fixed deal last summer, when 13 price rises in the space of three months added an average of £71 to the bills of over nine million energy customers.

This prompted 1.5million consumers to switch provider between July and September 2018 in order to avoid a high increase in bills.

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.

'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.' 

SUPPLIERS WITH MOST EXPENSIVE ROLLOVERS TO DEFAULT TARIFFS 
Supplier Tariff Fixed plan price Default tariff price Increase (£) Increase (%) Ends
iSupplyEnergy iFix 33-Month Aug19 £815 £1,254 £439 54% 17/08/2019**
Ovo 2 Year Fixed Energy (all online) 01 September 2017 £882 £1,249 £367 42% 16/09/2019**
Green Network Energy GNE Family 18 Month Fixed V14 £892 £1,234 £342 38% 16/09/2019**
First Utility (now Shell Energy***) First Fixed September 2018 Full Service £937 £1,254 £317 34% 30/09/2019*
Engie ENGIE Fixed Sept 19 v3 £884 £1,194 £310 35% 30/09/2019*
Source: uSwitch (* Fixed end date/ ** Rolling end date - last day customers roll off this plan/ ***Assumes roll-over to Shell Energy Flexible tariff) 

Following the regulator Ofgem's decision to raise the price cap limit in April, 44 energy firms increased the cost of their SVTs by up to 17 per cent this year.

The cap sets an upper limit on default tariffs, which are usually among the most expensive on the market, to stop customers paying over the odds for their energy.

The decision to increase the cap in April meant that many suppliers raised their costs towards the upper limit, leaving some customers paying as much as £1,254 a year.

Ofgem is expected to announce that the cap will decrease by around £80 next month, however, the lower rate won't kick in until October 1.

Even when the price cap is reduced, energy customers on default tariffs could still be overpaying by around £300 a year.

Customers are encouraged to use price comparison sites to see if they could save money by switching supplier and, if they are on an SVT, switch to a fixed tariff which locks in prices for a year.

Smith added: 'Although the price cap is set to reduce the maximum cost of standard tariffs in the next few months, customers on default plans could still be paying up to £300 more each year compared to those who choose to shop around.

'That's enough to get to Miami and back this summer - which is far more exciting than handing the money over to an energy company.'

EXPIRING PLANS AFFECTING THE MOST CUSTOMERS
Supplier Tariff Households affected Increase Total increase Ends
E.ON E.ON Go Online 1 Year v16 173,350 £242 £42 million 23/08/2019**
Ovo 2 Year Fixed Energy (all online) 01 September 2017 118,515 £367 £43 million 16/09/2019**
Scottish Power Super Saver July 2019 113,605 £254 £29 million 31/07/2019*
Npower Broker Exclusive Fix July 2019 79,780 £288 £23 million 31/07/2019*
SSE SSE 1 Year Fixed Online Only 66,875 £288 £19 million 16/08/2019**
Source: uSwitch (* Fixed end date / ** Rolling end date - last day customers roll off this plan) 

Younger people more likely to be hit

Separate research from comparison website, Compare the Market, has revealed that younger people are more likely to be on SVTs. 

Some 23 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds are on default tariffs, 4 per cent higher than the average person on an SVT, while a further 20 per cent don't know what tariff they are on. 

The findings are based on a survey of 2,031 UK adults, commissioned by Compare the Market and conducted by Populus, the research house on 3 to 4 December 2018. 

It found a lack of financial knowledge was the reason for the increase, with only 26 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds aware that you will be automatically moved onto an SVT when your current fixed energy contract expires. 

General knowledge about how much energy usage costs and how much they are charged monthly is also low amongst younger people.

A massive 42 per cent couldn’t say how much they pay monthly and 86 per cent admitted they don’t know how much they pay per kilowatt – something that most bill payers struggle to understand.  

Peter Earl, head of energy at Compare the Market, said: 'Making the right financial decisions from an early age can help set yourself up for a lifetime. For a young adult setting out on their own for the first time, taking on the responsibility of paying bills can be a daunting task. 

'It's crucial to take a little time out when it comes to choosing the right tariff for your circumstances. More often than not it makes financial sense to lock into a fixed rate tariff, which could save you hundreds of pounds a year on your energy bill.' 

Avoid the loyalty penalty - challenge your bills the easy way

This is Money has partnered with check and challenge site, Is My Bill Fair, to launch a new tool that can help you get a fairer price on your household bills.

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Is My Bill Fair will then compare this information to the thousands of users who came to the site before you and have already told them what services they're getting and how much they're paying.

This means they're able to benchmark your deal against everyone else's and give you an idea of potential savings you might be able to make.

The unique Priceometer will then show you if you're getting ripped off or are on the deal of the century by showing you the average cost of people on similar contracts to you.

It will then show you how much you are potentially overpaying by. You can then choose whether you wish to challenge your bill or not.

The process is completely free and takes no more than 60 seconds:

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