With the nights drawing in and a discernible nip in the morning air, many people’s thoughts will be turning to their energy usage after a long, hot summer.
It’s looking more and more likely that autumn will see another round of energy price rises – in fact, last weekend, energy analyst Mark Todd of energyhelpline.com predicted that the next few weeks could see a rise of up to £142 a year, pushing the nation's average annual energy bills to beyond £1,500 a year for the first time.
Meanwhile, figures from regulator Ofgem show that the ‘big six’ energy suppliers have seen their profit margins nearly double over the past year.
Last year, British Gas, Scottish and Southern Energy, Eon, Npower, EDF and Scottish Power made an average of £35 a month per household. This has rocketed to an average of £65 per household.
What's more, the big energy companies are still failing customers when it comes to customer service - this year's Which? Energy Satisfaction Survey saw them come up short to their much smaller rivals once again.
Fix up, look sharp
Fixed price energy tariffs might be a good way to insulate yourself from the chill wind of energy price rises this autumn and winter.
These will set the rate that you pay for your gas and electricity for a set period – usually 18 months to two years.
During this time, your energy bills will not increase, but on the other hand, you won’t benefit from any reductions either.
Be wary, as fixed rates often apply only apply to the price per unit of energy. This means that if the standing charge goes up, your bill will go up as well.
Smack my switch up
It’s easy to switch energy supplier – all you need are your details, including postcode, and your current energy consumption. This can usually be found on a recent energy bill.
Simply input the details into Gocompare.com’s gas and electricity switching tool and select which tariff is right for you.
The switching process should take between 28 and 45 days. In most cases, it won’t cost you a fee.
The exception might be with fixed rate energy tariffs. You will usually be charged a fee to exit these, so if you plan on doing so, make sure you’ve checked what the fee is and if the switch will ultimately be worth your while.