Halloween energy hike for fixed-rate customers

Expect hair-raising price hikes this Halloween
"While many fixed tariffs have early exit fees, Ofgem has made sure that customers on soon-to-expire fixed tariffs can shop around without being penalised," Jeremy Cryer, Gocompare.com
  • | by Derri Dunn

For some fixed-tariff energy customers, the most frightening thing happening on Friday, 31 October, might be a price hike equating to around 10% on their annual bill.*

On Halloween, 12 fixed energy deals will be coming to an end. British Gas, ScottishPower, Npower, Sainsbury’s Energy and iSupplyEnergy all have tariffs expiring at the end of the month.

Yorkshire-based customers on Npower’s Online Price Fix October 2014 tariff will see the largest average annual bill increase of £205.01, or 20.67%.

There’s some good news for customers across the Scottish border though – some households in southern Scotland on ScottishPower’s Platinum Fixed Energy November 2014 NSC tariff could actually see their annual bill decrease by £8.97 when their fix expires.

But it’s a very different story for customers on this tariff elsewhere in the UK  – across the country they’ll see an average increase of £20.07 on their annual bill.

The solution is simple – shop around and switch to find a better deal if your fix is coming to an end, and do it now.

“Ten of the dozen tariffs that are due to come to an end on 31 October come from ‘big six’ suppliers, so it’s fair to assume that many households could be affected," said Gocompare.com’s energy spokesperson Jeremy Cryer.

And with average bill hikes of well above £100 imminent, it’s time for people on these tariffs to shop around for a better deal, if they haven’t done so already.

“While many fixed tariffs have early exit fees, which can be as high as £30 per fuel, Ofgem has made sure that customers on soon-to-expire fixed tariffs can shop around without being penalised," said Cryer.

"Under these rules, once you receive notification from your supplier of your fixed tariff coming to an end – typically 42 to 49 days before it’s due to finish – you can switch without being charged an exit fee.

"That may seem like a long notice period, but it can take that long to complete the switch to a new supplier, so acting quickly will help ensure you don’t pay more than you need to for longer than is necessary.”

Top switching tip

If your fixed tariff is due to end in October, it’s time to act. As soon as you get notification from your supplier that your fixed rate is coming to an end, compare the whole energy market quickly and easily to find the best gas and electricity deal for you.

*Average increase across all UK regions and across all tariffs coming to an end on 31 October, 2014, is 10.39%, or £104.47