Energy companies have started dropping hints that prices are set to rise. Both Centrica and SSE have recently pointed towards the climb in wholesale gas prices to suggest that bigger bills for consumers could be just around the corner.
Energy price hikes would pile further pressure onto cash-strapped consumers who pay on average £1,252 a year for their gas and electricity.
Price falls at the beginning of the year cut the typical bill by about 3%, but it hardly made up for jumps in 2011 of about 20%.
The threat of rising prices means that now could be a good time to think about securing a good deal on your household fuel – and a plan on fixed energy prices that offers protection against future hikes is worth considering.
Consumers usually pay a premium for fixed energy prices, but some of the current deals are as cheap as variable tariffs.
The Blue + Price Promise from EDF Energy, for example, is fixed until September 2013, but there are no termination fees should you want to switch any earlier. Also, EDF Energy will tell you when you can save £1 a week or more by switching to a better deal on the market – even if it means you move to a rival utility firm.
The EDF fixed plan would cost the typical household about £1,054 a year, which is only £27 more than the cheapest variable deal.
Or, there’s the iSave Fixed Price v2 September 2013 from First Utility at £1,047, also fixed until September next year. But if you switch before the fix expires, there is a fee of £30 for each fuel.
If you decide to fix, it’s probably best to act sooner rather than later as some firms are already starting to withdraw their cheapest online tariffs.