UK energy bills could see a bump in February as a large number of fixed plans come to an end.
Research by price comparison site Uswitch.com showed that the hike could affect half a million homes, and would be a triple blow to households who are already facing increased energy usage due to working from home and home schooling. This could amount to £84m ($114.2m) in total.
Impacted households could see their bills rise by £171 on average, as they will move automatically onto a Standard Variable Tariffs (SVT) if they do not take action and switch to a new deal.
Energy bills are expected to rise in the coming months, as it is likely that Ofgem will announce in February that the price cap will increase in April, the research found.
There is currently a £161 difference between the best deals on the market and the default energy price cap, it said.
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How to switch your energy supplier
Put a reminder in your calendar for when your energy deal is coming to an end. By remembering it is time to switch supplier, you can avoid overpaying for your energy.
It does not matter if you cannot find your last bill or annual statement, as your usage can be estimated.
Your energy supply will not be interrupted when you switch — all that changes is the company that bills you and the rate charged for your energy. It only takes 10 minutes to set that process in motion.
The entire energy switching process should take 17 days, which includes a two-week cooling off period in which you can change your mind.
Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “People often use January as a prime time to detox their finances, and it means that many fixed deals taken out this time last year are about to come to an end.
“With the majority of the country spending more time at home during this national lockdown, combined with the cold weather, we will be using much more energy to keep ourselves warm.
“Switching suppliers is simple, and can take as little as 10 minutes.”
Currently, there is a £161 gap between the cost of the best deals on the market and the default energy price cap, which sits at £1,042.
The cheapest deal currently on the market is the SimplyLoyal21 tariff from Simplicity Energy at £880 fixed for 12 months.
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