MONEY-saving expert Martin Lewis is warning households to switch to a cheap fixed deal now ahead of possible energy bill hikes this winter.
It comes as British Gas today announced a 12.5 per cent electricity bill increase – pushing up costs for customers on its standard tariff by an average of £76 a year.
The energy giant announced the rise ahead of a price freeze on its standard tariff, which has been in place since November 2013, expiring at the end of this month.
It claims that the rise, which comes into effect on September 15, affects 3.1 million customers, while 5.3 million are unaffected.
But Mr Lewis said: “This is British Gas’ catch-up price hike. It was the only one of the big 6 firms not to raise prices at the start of the year, and now, as predicted, it’ll do it from September.
“And that means if, as is possible, we see another batch of rises this coming winter, its customers will feel like they’ve been price-slapped twice in rapid succession.”
British Gas customers on a standard tariff will be paying £1,120 a year from September, while the cheapest on the market are £844.
It means that some household are overpaying by as much as £276 a year.
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Mr Lewis also said that while the freeze has given people a little bit of respite, for many it has created a false sense of security.
He added: “So let this be a clarion call for British Gas customers (and all those on big 6 standard tariffs) – do not sit on your backside and just take this.”
MILLIONS of households across the UK have never switched and are stuck paying more than they should.
If in doubt, call your provider and ask them to move you to their cheapest tariff.
Better still, use a comparison website like MoneySuperMarket.com or Energyhelpline.com to find the very best deal for you.
The cheapest tariffs are usually found online and are fixed deals – meaning you guarantee how much you’ll pay for a set amount of time, usually 12 months.
Switching to a cheaper supplier could cut your bill by up to £300 a year.
The amount you pay varies depending on where you live and how much energy you use.
Research by The Big Deal suggests that the energy giant should be cutting bills not putting them up.
It found that costs for energy companies, according to analysis of data from the energy regulator Ofgem, have fallen by nearly 9 per cent due to a decline in wholesale prices.
Last month, comparison website MoneySuperMarket.com warned that thousands of households could see their energy bill rocket by around £200.
If customers on fixed deals don’t actively switch to cheaper deals they will be automatically rolled onto a more expensive tariff just as the colder weather kicks in.
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