Fixed energy plans: £250 price hike waiting at the end

Fixed energy plans: £250 price hike waiting at the end

18 February 2010 / by Rachael Stiles

Consumers who have been enjoying the security of a fixed price energy plan could have the rug pulled out from under them when these deals come to an end and their energy bills rise by £250. has calculated that there could be a price hike of up to £258 waiting at the end of a fixed price energy plan, and six such deals are due to come to an end.

Householders rushed to sign up to fixed price tariffs amid the rises in gas and electricity prices of the last several years, with 4.6million households currently on a capped energy plan.

To avoid a huge increase in their energy bills, is urging consumers to compare gas and electricity prices and switch energy providers if they find a better deal.

Based on a four year fixed price energy plan, with payment by cash or cheque, the average bill has been £1,093, but when the deal ends and customers move onto a standard plan, they could see this rise to an average £1,232.

In four years, the average household energy bill has risen 68 per cent – or £497 – but, for those customers who signed up to capped price tariffs more recently, say in the last year or two, the difference will not be quite so stark, and, following some recent price cuts from energy companies, these customers could actually see their bills fall when they come to the end of their fixed plan.

With the recent price cut from British Gas raising suspicions that others could follow suit, uSwitch suggests that another fixed price plan might not be the way to go in the current market.

Ultimately, consumers should compare gas and electricity prices and make sure they find the best deal for them, the comparison website urges.

It suggests that bill payers check out the online energy plans on offer, as these are usually the best value for money, with the cheapest one coming in £333 cheaper than the average standard plan.

Thomas Lyon, energy expert at, says: "Many of the households about to lose the protection of a fixed price energy plan are coming back onto a market that will look very different from a few years ago."

"Fixed plans are right for some, but given the current potential for further price cuts they could be the wrong move for many households. Online energy plans consistently offer the lowest prices," he added.
For those householders who do prefer the security of a fixed price plan, uSwitch advises them to see what their current supplier can offer, and then compare this with other fixed price plans in the market to find the most competitive deal.

"It's also important to be aware that most fixed or capped plans carry an early exit fee - consumers should always check the small print carefully and ensure that an energy plan meets their needs before signing on the dotted line."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd