Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Be quick with that energy fix
4:30pm Tuesday 5th July 2011 in News
Everybody needs to urgently assess their energy bills.
The clock is ticking and if you don't act soon, you'll have missed the window to insure against price hikes.
It gives me no pleasure to say that my recent predictions about a big energy price hike this summer was correct. Scottish Power is doing just that in August - it'll hike gas prices by 19 per cent and electricity by ten per cent - hitting 2.4 million customers.
Yet make no mistake, Scottish Power almost certainly won't be alone, it's just the first? Energy companies are like sheep.
Where one leads, the others follow.
British Gas has already hinted it plans increases, and the Bank of England has said it expects an annual 15 per cent energy rise. It would be a major shock if all the other Big Six didn't follow suit.
Of course, one supplier may hold off introducing rises until October in order to gain short-term advantage on the comparison sites, but it'll probably just be a postponement of a rise, not a cancellation.
Fix NOW if you can't afford rises.
A fix guarantees your rate won't rise for a set period, eg, two years, and many on standard rates, will save £150 a year and get the lock-in at the cheaper price (as standard rates are so expensive).
It is possible to get online tariffs even cheaper than the cheapest fix, but these are subject to any rate hikes, and even an eight per cent rise (less than predicted) would mean a fix is cheaper in the long run.
And while more rises aren't guaranteed, if the thought of price hikes is a nightmare, a fix effectively is an insurance policy against them.
This is all about speed. In the past, once price hikes were announced, the cheapest fixes were soon pulled and replaced with more expensive ones. Add the fact a switchover can take two months and it means if you're going to fix, speed's crucial.