Energy tariff switchers warned 'small print will cost you' as Britons pay £716 extra above price cap

Couple looking worried at documents

Energy tariff switchers warned 'small print will cost you'

Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye

Published: 19/04/2024

- 10:30

With the average energy bill falling by 12 per cent, many households will be wondering if they can switch their tariff to get the best and cheaper deals available

Households are warned they could be stuck paying expensive exit fees on their energy bills if they don’t read the fine print.

Exit fees have increased by 345 per cent in the last three years, a report has found.

Around three million households are paying as much as £716 more than April’s reduced price cap under the tariffs, Warm This Winter (WTW) said.

In a recent report, WTW stated that exit fees can cost £187.21, up from an average of £42.06 in 2021.

Those considering a switch in tariffs need to look at what is expected to happen over the course of the next year.

A fix that looks like good value for money currently could end up costing customers more over the next year if energy prices drop.

Couple worried at laptop

Experts warn those most vulnerable to only fix if they are certain it's the right thing to do


Please write at least 2 paragraphs

Simon Francis, End Fuel Poverty Coalition co-ordinator, warned the energy industry is quick to promote the idea that switching will save one money.

He said: “The energy industry is quick to promote the idea that switching will save you money, but the reality is that the small print could leave struggling customers out of pocket.

“Households who are suffering the most are often the ones looking for the most security through a fixed tariff, but we would urge them to only fix if they are absolutely certain it is the right thing to do.”

Fiona Waters, WTW spokeswoman, said: “Yet again energy suppliers are letting customers down with many stuck in fixed rate deals they can’t get out of because of extortionate exit fees.

“It’s Hobson’s choice for those who want the peace of mind of a fixed rate, but will probably end up worse off later in the year.

“It’s just ridiculous and unnecessary that billpayers have to navigate such a complex tariff system where they get ripped off at every level, from rising standing charges to profiteering gas companies, and still face bills that are 60 per cent higher than three years ago.”

The Money Saving Expert website explains financial journalist and campaigner Martin Lewis' ‘rule of thumb’ when it comes to switching energy providers.

It said: “Some of this is crystal-ball gazing and averaging, but if the predictions above are right, our best guess is, based on current published predictions, on price alone (not certainty)…

“Unless you can fix at three per cent LESS than the current (April to June) Price Cap, it’s predicted they will pay more than staying on the Price Cap.”

These are the top energy deals to consider, according to Money Saving Expert:

E.on Next offers a fixed discount off the Price Cap for 12 months.

It'll stay £50 below the Price Cap, so about three per cent less (at average annual use) for the fixed term.

Outfox the Market offers a Fix'd Dual Apr24 12-month fix. This is open to new and existing customers.

The tariff is eight per cent lower than the price cap and there are no exit fees.

British Gas offers the Fixed Lighter 12m v2 for new and existing customers.

This is five per cent less than the price cap. There is a £100 dual-fuel exit fees.

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