MoneyExpert.com is urging consumers to check for fixed and capped price offers when shopping around for the best gas and electricity deals on comparison websites.
After the last round of price hikes from gas and electricity providers
it is all the more important for consumers to be vigilant and shop around for good deals. Although only 15 per cent of the deals on the market allow customers to cap their energy costs and they are slightly more expensive it might still be worth fixing as further price rises might lie ahead and consumers could still save up to £340.
Only four energy providers - British Gas, ScottishPower, E.ON and EDF - currently offer capped deals which make sure prices will rise beyond a certain amount – in total nine out of 60 energy deals available on the market.
However, MoneyExpert.com believes that watchdog rules are leading customers away from choosing capped deals. Price comparison services are obliged to compare all deals against each other, and accordingly the capped tariffs lag far behind the currently more competitive tariffs which, however, might skyrocket in the future.
For instance, in a typical search for a £1,000 dual fuel
bill on a price comparison website the best capped deal comes up at 17th.
Consequently this means that many energy switchers ignore capped deals purely on the basis of the price comparison although further energy price rises in 2009 could completely wipe out the savings they make on the variable deal now.
Sean Gardner, director of MoneyExpert.com, comments: "EnergyWatch quite rightly insists switching services have to compare all deals on the market in their best buy tables but that runs the risk of not explaining exactly what is a best buy. Different people have different needs.
"The lowest price is not always the best advice as many customers may not be aware that they can cap their energy bills and would benefit from being able to do so," he added, "Anyone whose household budget is stretched or who wants the security of knowing what they are paying would often be better off with a capped tariff."
For those who want to switch energy provider
, Mr Gardner recommends: "Customers should focus on more than just the price shown in best buy tables. Price comparison services do the best they can under current rules but the rules could be clearer."
The Fairinvestment.co.uk energy comparison service allows consumers to select capped deals to compare, meaning they don't get lost amongst the cheapest offers. Compare capped gas and electricity quotes
© Fair Investment