When a price increase is (sort of) good news

For the last few years the government and consumer organisations to switch their energy supplier and, generally, to jump on a fixed price deal. It’s good advice and a surge of customers followed it. In most cases they saved a good bit of money and for those who chose fixed deals they had certainty about their bills over the fixed period.

Now people are reaching the end of those fixed deals and they are back on the market looking, probably, for a new one. What can they expect?

Fixed price customers may or may not have noticed that while their price was fixed, energy prices have generally been rising in the last year or two. That’s bad news for everyone.

Everyone who comes out of a fixed deal and searches the market is looking at the same options (at least broadly – there are some special deals on certain websites and some parts of the price depend where you live).

So if you can’t find a fixed-price deal as low as the one you had before, congratulations. Although prices have been rising, you have beat the market and paid under the odds.

If you see deals at about the same price you have been paying, you have come out about even.

If you are coming out of a fixed deal and can see cheaper deals, that’s good news for the future, grab the deal. The bad news is that last time you fixed at the wrong time, or on the wrong deal, and you have probably been paying more than you need.

Fixing your energy price carries a risk that you will fix at the wrong price – which is why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the market and consider now and again, if you see prices falling, whether it would be worthwhile paying the penalty (assuming there is one) to exit your deal. There are consumer websites around now that will make that calculation for you, and do it regularly if you like.

Meanwhile, if you are facing a price hike at the end of your fixed deal, take a good look around and make sure your next deal is as good as you can get it. You beat the market once: with luck, and a bit of research, you can do it again.

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