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Energy price rises are not exactly news. However, for many consumers, the rate at which the big energy companies continue to put up their prices means increasing, uncomfortable, pressure on personal finances. In May SSE became the last of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies to announce ongoing price rises. So, is it time to move away from the big companies and switch to a smaller energy provider instead to start saving cash?
All the major energy suppliers in the UK have now announced an increase in the prices that they charge for gas and electricity. That includes British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, and SSE. The increases are different, depending on the energy company that you’re currently with. For example, SSE customers will see a 5.7% increase in the cost of gas and a 7.7% rise in electricity prices as of 11th July. For 2.36 million customers that’s going to result in an average increase of £76 a year. Around 4.1 million British Gas customers will see an increase of 5.5%, which will add an average of £60 to annual bills. Around a million people who buy their energy from Scottish Power will be paying £63 more on average (an increase of 5.5%). The same number of customers at NPower will be paying 5.3% more, which translates into a £64 increase, which will be payable from mid June. And finally, E.On has changed its billing processes with the result that the average standard variable rate will increase.
Many of these price rises have been criticised by the government as “unjustified” but, given the fact that these are not nationally owned power companies but private entities, there is little that can be done to stop power companies increasing bills. So, the only solution for individual customers may be to shop around and find a cheaper energy supplier – which is increasingly where smaller energy companies are more appealing.
It’s pretty simple, especially if you use one of the big and well established switching websites.
Make sure you use a website that is Ofgem accredited and look for one that states you will have a 14 day cooling off period to change your mind if you decide the new supplier is not for you. Remember that price comparison websites take commissions from energy companies in return for a successful switch so there should be no cost to you.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read about Alex Hartley
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