Five Questions About: Energy tariffs

Simon Read

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The Independent Online

Are they going up again?

Not across the board. But those who switched to smaller supplier First Utility are set for a shock in June when prices rise by an average 18.6 per cent.

Crikey, isn't that huge?

Yes, but to be fair to the small company – which has 180,000 customers – it has had one of the cheapest dual fuel tariffs on offer and the firm has, at least, waited until winter has ended before introducing the rise, unlike the big six which all, coincidentally of course, increased charges at the height of the cold spell.

Which company has the best deal now?

Who knows? Not gas and electricity customers. Four out of five people who believe they are on the cheapest tariff are not, according to research published this week by Co-operative Energy. The confusion costs people up to £180 a year.

So should I check my charges?

Yes. And examine rival deals. Long-term fixed rates are this week's trend, with Scottish Power launching a deal that lasts until February 2016, costing an average £1,301 a year.

Should I sign up?

Calm down. Look at all offers, not just the latest one. Npower launched a similar deal last week, and others may be around the cormer. And prices may yet fall, especially as pressure on wholesale gas prices has eased.

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