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Easter brings an average 8.5%* price rise to thousands of households as 16 tariffs come to an end

26 March 2013

Age UK customers could see bills rise by an average of £149.02 a year if they move back to the standard Age UK tariff

It's a mixed bag for householders and their energy bills this Easter weekend as a large number of fixed and capped energy tariffs come to an end.

Across the UK, the standard tariff pricing offered by the seven energy companies ending some of their fixed and capped deals is an average of 8.5%* higher than the fixed and capped deals they are finishing. This means on average those Brits moving from their old fixed or capped deal to their supplier's standard tariff will pay £93.93p* a year more for their gas and electricity. In the worst cases some could see their energy costs go up by over 21% if they move on to their supplier's standard tariff whilst others could see them fall by 5%.

Unless the many thousands of householders currently on those 16 ending tariffs have specified which tariff they'd like to move to, either with their existing provider or by arranging to switch suppliers, between Sunday the 31st of March and Monday 1st April they will be moved on to their current energy company's standard tariff. For some that will mean higher bills but some, surprisingly, may actually save some money.

Research from Gocompare.com Energy has shown that customers moving from the iSave Fixed Price v1 March 2013 tariff from First Utility on to First Utility's standard Everyday Paperless tariff could get the biggest shock. Their energy bills could increase by an average of 17.89% (£189.95** a year) across all regions with average customers in the Manweb distribution area seeing their energy costs go up by as much as 21.78% or £235.23** a year.

However, customers moving from the British Gas or Sainsbury's Energy Fixed Price March 2013 tariffs to their supplier's standard tariffs may see their energy costs come down by an average of 2.56% (£33.64** a year). Customers in the Scottish Power distribution area could see their bills come down by 5.09%, or £67.28** a year by moving back on to the British Gas or Sainsbury's Energy standard tariffs. This is the only time in the last 5 years when it hasn't been worthwhile for a customer to be on a fixed energy tariff compared to the standard tariff.

Customers on the E.ON Age UK Price Protection April 2013 tariff will have an average increase of 13.44% across all regions if moving on to the standard Age UK tariff, adding £149.02** a year to an average user's bill.

Impact of fixed and capped tariffs coming to an end on the 31st March or 1st April 2013 based on a dual fuel tariff for an average user (3,300 kWh electricity and 16,500 kWh gas per year) and paying by monthly direct debit. Figures are the average across all distribution areas.  Impacts may be higher or lower in individual distribution areas and for lighter/heavier energy users.

Supplier

Tariff

Impact % to standard tariff

Impact in £s to standard tariff

British Gas

Fixed Price March 3013

-2.56%

-33.64

British Gas

Price Promise March 2013

-0.83%

-£10.64

E.ON

Age UK Price Protection April 2013

13.44%

+£149.02

E.ON

Fixed Price April 2013

5.94%

+£70.64

E.ON

Fixed Price Saver April 2013

11.53%

+£130.36

E.ON

Fixed Protection April 2013

14.33%

+£157.98

EDF

Fix to March 2013

15.86%

+£171.22

EDF

Price Protection 2013

7.38%

+£86.01

First Utility

iSave Fixed Price v1 March 2013

17.89%

+£189.95

nPower

Winter Fix

5.88%

+£69.79

Sainsbury's Energy

Fixed Price March 2013

-2.56%

-£33.63

Sainsbury's Energy

Price Promise March 2013

-0.83%

-£10.64

Scottish Power

Fixed Saver April 2013

10.21%

+£117.76

Scottish Power

Online Fixed Energy April 2013

15.15%

+£165.8

Scottish Power

Online Energy Saver 17

9.59%

+£110.34

Scottish Power

Unifi Capped April 2013

15.72%

+£72.67



Fixing prices has generally been a good idea in the long term, but the timing of when you join fixed tariffs can impact on any potential savings. For example, opting for a fixed-rate tariff far in advance of a round of energy price increases coming into effect would provide you with the most choice but it would be more expensive than switching to a fixed tariff just before the increases came in. However you would then also have fewer tariffs to choose from.

The table below shows that in this example the four cheapest tariffs currently available are variable tariffs, with EDF's Blue Plus Price June 2014 fixed tariff coming in fifth.

Table showing current cheapest 5 tariffs based on a dual fuel tariff for an average user (3,300 kWh electricity and 16,500 kWh gas per year), living in Bristol and paying by monthly direct debit. This may be different in other distribution areas and for lighter/heavier energy users.

Supplier

Variable/Fixed/capped tariff name

Annual cost*

Months fixed

End date

Exit fees (Electricity)

Exit fees (Gas)

Spark

Variable - Spark Advance

£1,064.58

NA

NA

NA

NA

First Utility

Variable - iSave v14

£1,187.40

NA

NA

NA

NA

Scottish Power

Variable -Online Energy Saver 21

£1,188.34

NA

NA

NA

NA

Sainsbury's

Variable - Online April 2014

£1,204.17

NA

NA

NA

NA

EDF Energy

Fixed - Blue Plus Price June 2014

£1,214.84

15

30/06/2014

£0.00

£0.00



Jeremy Cryer, Head of Energy at Gocompare.com commented: "Many thousands of customers will be affected by these tariffs ending over the Easter weekend. Those who've prepared will have already chosen which tariff or supplier to move to. However, for those who haven't taken action this weekend could see a big change in their energy costs which they may only become aware of when they get their next bill.

"Energy prices are only likely to go up in the medium to long term and the key to keeping your energy bills in check is to shop around regularly to make sure you're on the best tariff for the amount of energy you use and the region you live in. You should also consider paying by monthly direct debit to benefit from any associated discounts.

"The example of the British Gas and Sainsbury's fixed tariffs highlights the need for consumers to be aware that opting for a fixed rate tariff can result in higher energy bills than being on a variable tariff. This is because suppliers can occasionally overestimate future price increases, resulting in slightly higher prices on fixed-rate tariffs. But for some, paying slightly more is worth it for the peace of mind that a fixed tariff brings, enabling people to budget effectively knowing what their energy will cost them over a one to two year period."

-ends-

Notes to editors:

*8.5% and £93.93p average increase figures are based on tariff information supplied by EnergyLinx and correct on the 26th March 2013

**Based on a dual fuel tariff for an average user (3,300 kWh electricity and 16,500 kWh gas per year), and paying by monthly direct debit. Information supplied by EnergyLinx and correct on the 26th March 2013