EDF Energy electricity customers in 11 out of 14 energy regions across the UK will see prices rise next month, although the energy provider insists the 2.6% increase will add less than £1 a month onto bills. It blames the increase on rising distribution and transmission costs.
But this isn't the only bad news. Several providers including British Gas and OVO Energy have raised the cost of some of their most competitive energy tariffs for new customers in recent weeks, and further increases could be on the cards.
British Gas, for example, last month increased the cost of its Websaver Online deal by 9% - or £81 a year - with new customers now paying an average of
£979 a year. Similarly, new customers signing up to OVO Energy's New Energy tariff now pay an average of £944 a year, up from £926. These costs are based on an average gas and electricity user using 3,300 kWh of electricity and 20,500 kWh of gas a year. We first recommended that people lock into fixed energy tariffs back in July to protect themselves from rising prices, but it's not too late to take action... Why you should fix now
With the cost of the best energy deals steadily increasing, and relatively few fixed deals still available, you should fix as soon as possible if you don't want to be hit with rising bills this winter.
Scott Byrom, energy manager at moneysupermarket.com, said: "Energy prices seem to be inching up, especially the best online deals. With the cost of wholesale energy continuing to rise, and energy companies getting rid of the cheapest deals from the market, people should be on their guard and 'fix now' if they want to secure the best deals for their gas and electricity.
"I think providers will continue put online prices up little by little so fixing your bills now will ensure any price increases will pass you by. More importantly, your wallet won't be hit as hard during the cold, and more costly, winter months."
Best fixed energy deals
There are several competitive fixed deals to choose from. The best fixed tariff currently available is OVO Energy's New Energy Fixed deal, costing an average of
£944 a year.
Other competitive deals include Scottish & Southern's Price Fix 4, costing
£1,072 a year, EDF Energy's Annual Fix v3 at £1,099 and Scottish Power's Platinum Fixed Energy deal, which is guaranteed until January 31, 2014. The average annual bill for the Scottish Power fixed tariff is £1,227, which is cheaper than its average standard tariff bill, at £1,290. Unfortunately, this particular deal is not available to Londoners or households in the north of Scotland and is only a dual fuel deal, for customers switching both their gas and electricity.
Best online deals
If you're prepared to take the risk that your bills could go up in the next few months, an alternative to locking into a fixed tariff is to go for a competitive online deal. These are usually the cheapest tariffs that are available, as cutting out the paperwork means lower overheads for providers who can then offer lower prices.
For example, if you were to move from the average standard tariff, which costs a typical gas and electricity user
£1,169 a year, to npower's Sign Online 19 tariff costing £890 a year, you'd save a massive £279.
Other competitive online deals at the moment include E.ON's SaveOnline v3 tariff, costing an average of
£894 a year, and Scottish Power's Online Energy Saver 10 tariff, which typically costs £915 a year. Don't delay
If you are currently on your provider's standard tariff, then the chances are you are paying much more than you need to for your energy and you should switch as soon as possible. Even if you have switched relatively recently, it's still worth checking to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere, although make sure you find out if there is any penalty if you leave your current tariff.
Online deals offer the best value for money, but choosing a fixed tariff makes sense if you want protection from any future price increases. Remember that the best deals are disappearing fast, so you can't afford to hang around.
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