Indifference will leave you out of pocket

Annabel Denham
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THE Citizens Advice Bureau found that, in spite of widespread concern among homeowners over energy bills, a pitiful 25 per cent took action to see whether their supplier was providing them with the best deal. That is why the founder of MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has said that “there is a massive fine for apathy. If you haven’t dealt with your energy contract in the past year, urgently lock in on a fixed rate. People on a standard tariff can cut their costs by 15 to 20 per cent – so roughly £200 per year”. If you switch, use a consumer focused comparison site to find the best deals. Some fixed rate tariffs guarantee no price increases for two winters – particularly useful with hikes looming.

MoneySavingExpert has found that the cheapest fixed rate tariff is with First Utility, which if fixed until 31 March 2014 is the market's cheapest. However, it does have £30 per fuel (£60 dual fuel) exit fees meaning that, if prices drop and you leave early, you have to pay. Scottish Power’s is the cheapest fixed rate tariff with no exit fee. It also locks in prices until 31 March 2014.

But, if you’re not fixing, stick with your current provider. “If you’re on a pre-pay meter, for example, then hold fire and wait until all the big suppliers have hiked their prices. Then you can compare what’s on offer,” says Lewis. You don’t want to hop out of the frying pan into the fire by switching to a provider which then increases its prices even more.