And with more freezing weather forecast, you don’t want to pay any more than you need to for your gas and electricity.
Both the cheapest fixed rate tariff from OVO Energy and the overall cheapest dual fuel deal from EDF Energy have now gone, which means the few remaining good deals are unlikely to be around for long. On top of that, npower has just announced a 5.1% increase in gas and electricity prices for standard customers.
What makes this particularly worrying is that a recent moneysupermarket.com poll showed that seven in 10 UK adults are worried about whether or not they can afford their heating bills this winter. Hikes are combining with the early cold snap and causing real concern to many households.
But with price rises from Scottish & Southern, British Gas and Scottish Power kicking in over the last few days, many people will now be planning to move providers. If you’re one of them, you need to act now before even more of the cheapest gas and electricity deals are scrapped.
It’s not too late to save
The good news is that most people can still save hundreds of pounds, especially if they act fast.
If you’re on an energy provider’s standard tariff, which is likely if you haven’t switched in over 12 months, then you could save a fortune by moving to one of the cheaper online deals.
The market-leading EDF Energy tariff may have been pulled, but every provider has a cheaper deal than its standard prices, so you can still make substantial savings.
Now, the cheapest average dual fuel deal is from npower, with its Sign Online 20 tariff. The average annual bill is just £952.07 – almost £250 cheaper than the average standard tariff.
Of course, some people could save even more. The average Scottish Power standard tariff bill is a hefty £1,357.18. Switch to the cheapest deal and you could save more than £400 a year.
Frightened of the future? Then fix!
If you’re worried that bills are just going to keep on rising then it might be time to consider a fixed deal, so that you know exactly what you’re paying for the next 12 months.
While fixed energy deals are more expensive than online variable tariffs, most are still cheaper than the average standard bills.
That means that you could shield yourself from further price hikes AND cut your bills.
For example, the new market-leading fixed tariff is Scottish & Southern’s Atlantic Fixed Price 3, with an average annual bill of £1,019.94.
Even that is £181 cheaper than the average standard tariff – and there’s no risk of rocketing prices.
Whether you want the cheapest gas and electricity possible, or you want the best fixed price going, you need to move now before more of the best deals disappear.
The right tariff for you
Don’t assume that the cheapest average tariff will mean the cheapest gas and electricity for you.
The best deal for any one household depends on how much energy is used and which region it is in. If you want to be sure you’re on the right tariff, use the moneysupermarket.com energy comparison tool to find the best prices for your home.
Don’t forget to save energy where you can...
As well as switching suppliers, you can also drive down fuel costs by being as energy efficient as possible. For example, uninsulated walls account for up to 33% of the heat lost in your home and filling cavity walls could save you up to £180 a year in energy costs. It costs from £300 upwards but you may be able to get a grant to pay for it.
The size of grants may differ depending on your personal circumstances, age and where you live. Look under the ‘search for grants and offers’ section on the website http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/, which will tell you more about offers available in your area.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.