Most current predictions: how to beat energy bill rises

Is summer the time to switch suppliers – and what’s next for energy prices? This guide is updated once a month with the latest deals and insider tips to cut your bills Avoid overpaying on your energy by being clued up on the latest fixed and variable deals

  Photo: Howard McWilliam

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• Important news
• Does it pay to switch?
• What to do right now
Best fixed deals
• Best variable deals
• Catches
• Predictions: what next for prices?

Bookmark this page – updated once a month – to keep your bills low

LATEST: Energy bills will increase by around £130 a year this summer, according to reports. Power suppliers are preparing to increase prices because Britain’s warmer winter damaged their profits, Mark Todd of told the Express newspaper . See below for more predictions.

Householders need to act now to beat the rises.

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Swapping energy supplier might be the last thing on people’s minds now the radiators are off and the sandals are on. In fact, the summer is the best time to switch, as it is the period when most people’s fixed deals end.

Energy companies prey on customers, moving them from cheap fixed deals to more expensive tariffs during the summer. Families are more likely to be on holiday, use less energy, and therefore not notice the change. So energy firms design contracts that expire in the hotter months. In our Energy Shambles Watch campaign, The Agenciesis keeping tabs on the power giants’ service levels to ensure fairness.

>> More: Energy firm’s mega blunder: the £500m electricity bill

Does it pay to switch?

Avoid the traps by shopping around for a better contract. You can save up to £365 moving from a poor deal to the best. You will need to know the name of your current energy plan and an estimate of your usage.

If you haven’t kept your bills, or have recently moved and don’t have access to the previous occupant’s bills, you can ask for these details from your supplier. Most variable tariffs will let you switch without a charge. But some fixed-rate deals and online-only offers might charge if you leave before the end of the term.


Even if you are locked into a fixed-rate tariff with an exit fee, you may be able to negotiate a better deal with your current supplier or elsewhere. Ring your supplier and ask whether it can make a counter offer. If not, check whether the saving from switching to a new supplier outweighs the costs.

Advice for summer 2014: stick with fixed

The majority of the best deals on the market are fixed, meaning cheaper energy and protection against rises. Analysts said it was more likely for prices to rise than fall – even if energy providers’ costs eased.

You may be able to make greater savings by reducing your power use ahead of winter, either through energy saving appliances or smarter practices at home. Energy-saving goods may be cheaper to run, but can be costly to purchase and install. There is a risk that people who want to reduce their carbon footprint are falling for misleading claims .

>> Switching websites ‘push up energy bills’, supplier claims

>> The devices quietly running up your energy bills

>> ‘Wireless internet router is expensive on standby but is it wise to turn off at night?’

>> Will I save money by turning off my fridge and freezer at night?

Best fixed deals

Currently the best fixed deal is from the Co-operative (see table, below), but it also charges the highest exit fee at £50 for an early switch. Bills are fixed until September 2015, so if you’re looking for a longer fix, then Green Star Energy (£1,055 until July 2016) and Ovo Energy (£1,011 until June 2016) offer deals for longer.

>> Compare prices for your area with our switching tool

Average annual bill
Exit fees

The Co-operative Energy

Fair & Square Sep 2015



First Utility

iSave Fixed September 2015 (v27)



Extra Energy

Fixed Price September 2015 v12



Green Star Energy

No Worries Fixed 12 Months 1406 (online billing)



Flow Energy

Thames Fixed Online September 2015



Ovo Energy

Cheaper Energy Fixed June 2016



Green Star Energy

No Worries Fixed 12 Months 1406



EDF Energy

Blue+Price Promise February 2016


No exit fees

Green Star Energy

No Worries Fixed 24 Months 1406 (online billing)



Scottish Power

Online Fixed Energy September 2015



Source: UK Power. Based on usage of 3,200kWh of electric and 13,500kWh of gas per year.

And for a gamble, the best variable prices

With lower priced fixed deals available, the variable rates may not seem very competitive. But if energy prices fall, you could benefit.

Average annual bill

Spark Energy

Direct Debit Advance 4


Green Star Energy

No Worries Variable (online billing)


Green Star Energy

No Worries Variable


The Utility Warehouse

Double Gold


The Utility Warehouse



First Utility

iSave Everyday v2


EDF Energy




E.on EnergyPlan


The Co-operative Energy

Pioneer Variable


The Utility Warehouse



Source: UK Power. Based on usage of 3,200kWh of electric and 13,500kWh of gas per year.

Which suppliers are consistently cheap?

All big six energy firms increased their prices in 2014. This came despite changes to green and social levies that meant their customers would see a £50 reduction, on average, in their bills.

Among the worst offenders were British Gas, the UK’s biggest supplier, which cut prices by just 3.2pc in January 2014 following a 9.2pc increase in November. SSE contributed to a number of autumn price cuts in 2013, increasing average dual fuel prices by 8.2pc, adding more than £100 to average annual bills for customers taking both gas and electricity.

British Gas says it will not increase prices in 2014. SSE has frozen its price rises on variable and fixed tariffs until January 2016, the longest guarantee in the market.

Pre-hike bill
Post-hike bill
Hike effective
Bill after the levy reduction

British Gas



November 2013


EDF Energy



January 2014





January 2014





December 2013


Scottish Power



December 2013





November 2013




Source: uSwitch. Based on usage of 3,200kWh of electric and 13,500kWh of gas per year.

>> More: Most consistent big six suppliers revealed

Any catches?

Switching could save you hundreds of pounds each year, but the reduction can be cancelled out by hefty exit fees. EDF Energy is the only fixed deal featured in the cheapest ten without an exit fee.

Customer service may not be important if your home is in working order. But if something did go wrong, be warned that many of the suppliers listed in the table above also attract a number of customer complaints.

According to consumer website Which?, customer satisfaction is fairly low for Co-operative Energy (64pc), First Utility (58pc) and Spark Energy (48pc). Newcomers Extra Energy and Green Star have yet to be surveyed.

Letters to The Agenciessuggest that npower and Scottish Power offer consistently poor customer service. Both have computer system problems that their management teams are scrambling to put right. If you do choose one of these companies, do not be surprised if you encounter difficulties in resolving issues for the time being.

One of the most common complaints about energy suppliers are about bills that never arrive . Don’t put up with misinformation – suppliers should provide these details within a reasonable time frame. If they fail to respond to your request, report your case to the energy ombudsman.

Latest predictions: what’s next for your bills?

Industry insiders say energy companies want to increase prices in anticipation of a price cap if Labour wins power in next year’s election. Ed Miliband has said prices would be frozen until 2017.

David Hunter, an energy specialist at Schneider Electric, said companies were also “hurting from the milder winter.” We are using less gas and power and this “kept a lid on profits,” he said.

Mr Hunter said that the biggest hidden cost in bills came from price comparison sites. “One supplier estimated that hidden commission makes up 7pc of the bill on top of supplier profits, yet it is hidden under the radar.

“These murky costs are spread across all customers – whether or not you use a broker – so there is no avoiding the surcharge even if you compare the market yourself,” he said.

Ann Robinson, a policy director at price comparison service uSwitch, said that falling costs meant energy companies could not justify recent price rises.

She criticised companies which were quick to pass on higher costs to customers. “By contrast, the industry has been reluctant to pass savings to consumers and we urge energy companies to do the decent thing and cut prices,” she said. The Agenciesestablished that the biggest energy suppliers were left £26 per customer better-off from a Government energy deal that enabled them to cut costs.

>> More: SSE retail boss blames Government for energy price rise

• Keep this page bookmarked for monthly updates to energy prices and predictions.