How to beat the energy price hikes

The market price of natural gas leapt by 15 per cent on Wednesday, after the news broke that a leak had been found in a key Norwegian pipeline which supplies the UK. It could mean yet more bad news for British consumers, many of whom have already seen energy prices hiked twice since the start of 2008, and who may now be facing a third rise before the end of the year.

Joe Malinowski of, the energy comparison site, says: "The thing that has been driving prices over the past year has been the oil price – which rose from $100 a barrel at the start of the year to a peak of $147. The price has dipped over the past few weeks, and it was starting to look like there might be some relief for consumers. However, the problems with the Norwegian pipeline have thrown a spanner in the works, because clearly it has increased the risk of a disruption to supply over the winter."

Prices first rose at the start of the year, by an average of around 14 per cent for both gas and electricity. The second round of price hikes kicked off last month, when EDF raised its gas and electricity prices 22 and 17 per cent respectively. British Gas followed suit a few days later with a whopping 35 per cent gas price rise, and a 9 per cent increase in electricity prices. And this week, Eon and Scottish & Southern became the third and fourth of the big six to announce a new set of price rises – as much as 29.2 per cent for gas and 19.2 per cent for electricity. It's now only a matter of time before the others follow suit.

With the Norwegian pipeline problems threatening to spark another round of price rises in the next few months, it's still worth considering a fixed price tariff if you're worried that you won't be able to cope with a larger bill.

Malinowski points out that the very best deal currently on offer is from Scottish Power – a tariff that will leave the average household with a bill of around £1,100 for the year, fixed until October 2009. Since the recent round of price hikes, the average household on a standard tariff with EDF, British Gas, Eon or SSE will be spending at least £1,200 a year – which means the Scottish Power deal is already good value, even if there aren't any further price rises over the next year.

Although not as competitive, British Gas, EDF and Eon are all offering fixed-rate deals which can protect you against any further price rises. The downside with these deals is that you won't benefit if prices fall over the coming year. However, if you're concerned that an extra couple of hundred pounds on your energy bill could tip you over the edge, it still may be worth considering.

Even if you don't want to fix, it's worth checking that you're on the best tariff you could be on before the winter begins. Some 70 per cent of the average household's gas consumption is accounted for in the winter months, so switching now could save you hundreds. Websites such as and can help you check current prices and offers.

It also makes good sense to think about making your home more energy efficient before the nights begin to close in. Installing loft and wall cavity insulation, along with double-glazed windows, can help you make big savings on your energy bill. For more information on how to make your home more energy efficient, visit

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

    £32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

    Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

    £Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

    Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

    £40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

    Ashdown Group: Direct Marketing Manager - B2C, Financial Services - Slough

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas