Put ‘new energy tariffs on your Christmas shopping list’
With 71 fixed energy deals ending this month now is the time to put arranging a new tariff on your Christmas list before you are put on a higher rate in the New Year.
That’s the advice from green expert Ron Fox who said many householders get carried with the festivities and are shocked to receive a big gas and electricity bill in the New Year.
Ron said residents need to shop around carefully this year and not be lured by the Government’s price cap which comes into effect on January 1 or by cheaper green tariffs.
The independent regulator, Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets), said the cap would be set at £1,137 a year, saving on average £76 annually for around 11 million households on standard tariffs with typical dual fuel usage.
But already the competition watchdog, which reviews the price cap twice a year, said it is “likely” that it will have to raise the amount again from April 1, 2019, possibly by as much as £100 a year because of increasing wholesale costs.
The Government had brought in this cap because they said households were paying more than £1 billion too much for their energy and it would stop sudden and unexpected hikes in prices.
The plan is that when the price cap is introduced at the end of the year, gas and electricity suppliers will have to cut their prices to the level of or below the cap.
“But a problem,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park (www.noreus.co.uk), “could be if suppliers start removing their cheapest offers which are under that cap.”
He also warned consumers to be careful about signing up for a green energy tariff, which on average is £39 a year cheaper than its non-eco equivalent at £1,126 per annum.
They are called green tariffs as the supplier promises to match the electricity customers use with renewable energy which is fed back into the National Grid.
Although consumers might not be using power generated through renewable sources, the more people who go green, the bigger the share of green energy in the national supply.
But because they are variable deals they are more vulnerable to industry price increases, so any savings may be short lived for householders.
The consumer website Which? said most of those green tariffs are increased the most often
For those who want to shop around for a new deal Ron suggests that they should enter the tariff and energy usage from their most recent bill on a price comparison website which will suggest the cheapest supplier.
If they are happy they can organise the switch online and it should be completed within weeks with no interruption to supply.
“But,” Ron added, “there is one way to deal with this uncertainty on prices and to stop getting nasty surprises from energy companies. That is to swap to green energy using free sunlight.”
These include rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which change the sun’s energy into domestic electricity, and air source heat pumps, which work by absorbing heat from the atmosphere and converting this into power for the home.
For more advice on green energy contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk