electricity prices
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Almost half a million households could see their energy bills rise by a combined total of £50 million ($61 million) despite economic pressures caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, as 90 fixed deals from 19 suppliers end this month, according to data from UK comparison and switching service Uswitch.com.

Some 486,559 households can avoid an average £103 price hike if they switch to a cheaper plan, but customers with deals ending at Ovo Energy, npower and British Gas could see increases of £269, £174 and £168 respectively.

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Customers who don’t move to a cheaper deal will typically be rolled onto their supplier’s default, or ‘Standard Variable’ tariff. These tariffs are among the worst value energy plans on the market.

Households could save up to £404 by switching — the widest gap between the cheapest deal and the price cap for seven months – according to Uswitch.com data. The biggest recent gap was between the end of July and the end of September 2019 when the gap was £434 — but this isn’t far off.

Table 1 – Ten biggest rollover price increases

Source: Uswitch.com, correct as at 21/04/20. Prices assume a household with medium annual consumption on a dual-fuel tariff, paying by monthly direct debit.

Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “The gap between the price cap and the cheapest deal hasn’t been this wide for more than half a year and means there are huge potential savings for thousands of homes.

“The cheapest fixed tariffs are getting cheaper still, with tumbling wholesale costs and suppliers driving down prices to attract new customers.

“But there’s a warning too for the half a million energy customers whose fixed deals are due to end this month.

“Britons could face an average £103 price hike if they let themselves be rolled onto their supplier’s poor value Standard Variable Tariff instead of switching to another cheap plan.

“With household energy usage on the increase during lockdown, no one wants to pay more than they need to.”

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