Get your electricity from British Gas? Are you on the standard variable tariff ie not on a special deal? Brace yourself: there's a 12.5% price hike coming tomorrow which could cost you up to £76 more a year. It also brings the average dual fuel bill for BG customers to £1,120 annually.
With a taste of winter in the air already, this is depressing news. It's only a few weeks until it's dark at 4 pm and the bitterly cold school runs start. Those on fixed deals with British Gas can take comfort that they won't be affected - until their deal runs out. For the rest - we need a plan (or more warm jumpers).
Fortunately you can beat the increase by switching to another energy supplier. You could actually save around £256 a year, estimates Go Compare. Obviously this website wants you to use its comparison services because it earns money this way. But, for once, it doesn't work out as such a bad deal for the end user. I've blogged several times about how much I've saved by switching - in one case it was £1,000 (see here). So it really does make sense to have a look at what else is out there.
Switching, however, is a bit of a faff, no matter how effortless websites such as Go Compare and rival uSwitch claim the process to be. You need to work out your usage but this is normally displayed in your online account (if you don't have one, you could ask the supplier). Then you need to punch those figures into the comparison website of your choice which will spit out the cheapest deals available. Pick one and sign up - simples!
The next problem is that you'll probably have to switch again in another 12 months. Most suppliers have a nasty habit of booting you onto the most expensive tariff once your discounted deal has expired. Don't fall into the trap: switch again. And if the paperwork becomes too onerous, check out a service such as Flipper which will do it all for you. For a small price, they'll also keep an eye out for the best deals and routinely move you on to them without you having to lift a finger. Cheap Energy Club (on Money Saving Expert) and Switchcraft will do this for free.
Even half-an-hour's work can save you hundreds of pounds or let you go crazy with the central heating. Minted HQ will be positively tropical this autumn - check out the SMM guide to lower energy bills here to keep you warmer for less.
Have you got a great energy deal? Let us know in the comments below!