Households on standard energy tariffs have been receiving bills averaging more than £500 for the first quarter of this year, according to price comparison website Energyhelpline.com, while nearly half a million British Gas customers face a leap in charges as their fixed “Price Protection” plans come to an end.
However, experts estimate that switching to the cheapest online tariffs can save £300 or more a year. The big gas and electricity providers have all cut prices recently, making it a level playing field for comparisons and a good time to change suppliers.
Online plans operated by direct debit generally offer the lowest costs. By going to comparison sites via Moneysavingexpert.com, households can also earn cashback of £15 to £30 when they switch. Individual energy companies may also offer bigger rebates of up to £80 for switches via sites such as Topcashback.co.uk.
Households should also provide suppliers with accurate meter readings rather than allowing them to charge according to estimates. Nearly a third of households have been billed incorrectly in the past two years, and some customers have built up huge surpluses with their supplier.