RECORD numbers of us are switching energy suppliers, after fresh price hikes, but you need to act now if you want to join them in saving up to £200 a year.
The penny has finally dropped regarding how easy it is to move, with around six million households expected to do just that this year.
Price hikes are making this the ideal moment to switch to a cheaper energy supplier[/caption]
But many cheap deals are being scrapped this month, so this is your last chance to snag one.
Do not think you can delay because summer bills are low — they are not, with energy use down on average just 25 per cent compared with winter.
Higher wholesale energy prices mean suppliers have increased some cheap fixed deals — as low as £916 three months ago but now closer to the £1,138 average standard tariff annual bill, the level of the price cap.
Flexible-rate prices have also spiked. Six million people who get energy from Bulb — which won customers with a low-price variable tariff — will soon be paying out £1,126 after a new £69 hike.
A Bulb spokesman said: “Wholesale energy prices are up by a third since March. We need to increase prices.”
Octopus has also increased the price of its flexible tariff to £1,086, up £54, for new customers.
And the bad news continues with the industry price cap set to soar by another £100, to around, £1,240 from October 1, and that will in turn mean suppliers pushing up their prices even more.
Analysts Cornwall Insight said: “The increase in wholesale prices is extremely likely to be passed to customers.”
Consumer experts are now urging households who have not switched to do so urgently.
Martin Lewis is encouraging consumers to find the best deals[/caption]
MoneySavingExpert chief Martin Lewis said: “The prices of the cheapest fixed tariffs have rocketed.
“All the very cheap fixed deals have been withdrawn from the market and we’ve started to see price hikes.
“This is your last opportunity to do something about it — so switch.
“Wholesale prices for gas and electricity have now surged to their highest levels since 2018.
“This is due to post-lockdown demand, outages at ageing power plants and low levels of stored gas.
“Wholesale prices feed through to bills.”
Follow the Sun Money guide now, to switch energy suppliers and cut your annual bill.
Should I fix or flex?
Take a fixed rate to give yourself some certainty[/caption]
DISCOUNTED deals fixed for 12 months are much cheaper than the price cap.
Discounted flexible rates can be even cheaper – but could go up.
MoneySavingExpert chief Martin Lewis says: “If you want certainty, go for a fixed rate. But if you are prepared to gamble, go for the cheapest variable tariff, with decent customer service.
“The price might go up, but it will still be cheaper than more expensive deals.”
How to change
BY FORM: Fill out a few boxes on a price comparison website such as GoCompare or MoneySuperMarket. Gets a big saving.
BY PHONE: Call your supplier, tell them you want to leave and see what deal they offer you to stay. Gets a reasonable saving.
FOREVER: Ask a company to switch your bills every year. Try Switchcraft or Look After My Bills. Gets a big saving and is hassle-free.
BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH ENERGY I USE: Compare prices using the average UK power use – 12,000kWh of gas per year, and 3,000kWh of electricity.
WHAT IF I’VE NEVER HEARD OF THE CHEAPEST SUPPLIER?: Do not worry. Forget the Big Six – there are dozens of suppliers these days, many of which most people have never heard of.
To check out what customers say about a firm, Google the company’s name and “customer service” to see their service rating.
Check which smart meter you’re getting
ACCOUNTANT Chris Pillings will change supplier and save at the second time of asking – after calling off his previous switch due to concerns over temperamental smart meters.
Chris Pillings says make sure you get a second-generation meter[/caption]
Chris, 41, and wife Rachel, a bank worker, will insist on a second-generation meter, after scrapping a move to Together Energy because they were not told what meter they would get. First-generation meters can go offline if switched in the future.
The couple, who have two children, currently have a Shell Energy £1,136-a-year variable deal for their home in South London.
Chris says: “It was not clear which meter we would get. We are about to finally switch, but will make sure we get a second-generation meter.”
Uswitch said: “First-generation meters sometimes will not send data to your new supplier – but you can still switch and provide meter readings.”
‘Move was a doddle and service was good’
Max Veltman says switching firms was an easy experience[/caption]
A FAMILY featured on these pages in March cashed in by changing to a new energy firm and now their fixed deal means that, despite some firms’ price hikes this month, they will not pay a penny more.
Max and Sarah Veltman took just 17 minutes on the MoneySavingExpert website to save £84 a year, moving from Igloo Energy to Green’s bargain Hawthorn deal.
They are paying £1,111 for a year’s gas and electricity for their three-bed semi-detached home in Birmingham.
Scientist Max, 39, inset, who has two children with wife Sarah, 38, a healthcare worker, said: “Switching was a doddle and the customer service is good. All we have had to do is upload meter readings.
“We know we are saving money, and we are also protected against further price rises because our deal is fixed.
“We would encourage others to switch and save.”
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