MORE than 413,000 households could be automatically switched onto an energy tariff that's hundreds of pounds more expensive over the next three months.
The average bill will rise by £262 annually for customers who do not switch when their deals come to an end in July, August and September.
The total cost to UK households could be as much as £109million a year.
Who will be affected by the rise?
There are 227 fixed energy tariffs ending in this period, meaning that hundreds of thousands of families could see themselves paying more.
If you have a fixed-rate deal, it's important to check when it comes to an end otherwise you could be stung by a hefty bill.
When your offer is up, energy companies automatically switch you to a default tariff, which is usually much pricier.
This is called a standard variable tariff (SVT) and if you're on one, you're almost certainly paying over the odds.
Comparethemarket.com estimates that almost 200,000 people have deals ending in September alone.
How much your energy bills rise by will depend on who your energy supplier is, but generally speaking you can expect them to go up by over £250 annually.
Customers with deals ending in September, for example, will see an average rise of £269 per household per year.
I saved £372 with Switchcraft
TEACHER Peter Fox, 36, saved £372 when he switched through Switchcraft.
Peter, who lives in Stockton-on-Tees, said: “There’s no need to do anything really, I found Switchcraft dead easy, really straight forward, and it was an extremely quick way to switch supplier.
“For very little effort I’ve saved £372 and I’ve been moved onto the renewable energy provider, Pure Planet, which is an extra bonus”.
He now plans to use the money he saved towards a holiday to Las Vegas with his wife Catherine, 34.
Sign up, compare and switch with Switchcraft – and get £5 FREE cashback too.
A fiver will be paid into your bank account within four months of completing the switch. prepayment meter customer customers will receive a £5 Amazon voucher. Open to those 18 and over. UK residents only. Click here for full T&Cs.
How to avoid the hikes
Fortunately, all you need to do to avoid the hefty price increase is switch to a new deal – which should only take you ten minutes.
You might be able to get one through your existing provider, but you'll usually save even more if you shop around.
Using a comparison site, such as comparethemarket.com, USwitch.com or GoCompare.com can help you find the best deal for you.
You'll need your postcode, the name of your current supplier and the name of your current tariff.
It's also handy to have a recent bill so you can see your usual energy usage.
You'll want to consider price, but you may also wish to look at factors like customer service or environmental credentials.
Once you've chosen a new deal, switching is easy – especially if your new provider is signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee.
This means that your new supplier will handle the whole switchover for you, and guarantee that everything will be sorted within 21 days.
Once you've swapped over, you have 14 days to make sure you're happy, and if not you can switch back.
Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “It rarely pays to be loyal to an energy company.
"Energy companies [could] rake in an additional £109 million over the next three months.
"Bosses will be planning on this revenue windfall… Unless you stay on top of your bills it is an easy trap to fall into."
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