Five Questions About: Energy prices

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Are gas prices set to rise?

Wholesale gas prices are the highest they've been all year, which could mean energy providers increase the amount they charge customers.

Why are average bills already going up?

Over recent weeks three out of the six major energy firms have withdrawn their cheapest tariffs from the market. There are still significant savings to be had by changing energy providers – the average household can save £259 by switching from a standard tariff to an online dual fuel deal – but don't hang about, you could miss out on the lowest prices currently available if more deals are withdrawn.

Is it time to fix my energy tariff?

It seems unlikely that gas and electricity prices will fall in the near future, so it could be worth paying a bit more for a fixed deal to protect against any price hikes. The cheapest fixed tariff is npower's Go Fix v2, which will cost the average household £902.38 a year. This compares with an average annual bill of £1,169.49 if you are paying your provider's standard gas and electricity prices.

I'm on a fixed tariff. What will happen when this comes to an end?

If you are currently on a fixed energy deal, you may be charged a penalty to switch now. However, make a note to move when the fixed period ends because at that point you will probably be moved on to your provider's standard tariff which will result in higher bills if you do nothing.

Is there anything to look out for?

When comparing energy deals, watch out for switching penalties. An increasing number of deals have fines which are levied if you move to a different provider within a certain period of time. Also, many of the leading products include a discount but, in some instances, that discount is only applied after a certain date. If you switch providers before that time you will not benefit from the lower price.

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