Your energy supplier has put its prices up
If your gas or electricity supplier increases its prices, they should tell you in a reasonable amount of time before the change takes place, unless:
- you're on a 'staggered tariff', where your contract contains set price increases on set dates (you won't get a reminder)
- you're on a 'tracker' tariff, where your prices will go up and down to follow something else, such as a stock market (you won't get any notice)
You should complain to your supplier if you think they haven’t given you reasonable notice.
Your supplier might have increased its prices because of changes to the 'energy price cap'. This is the maximum they're allowed to charge if you're on a default tariff, or most other tariffs where the rate you pay changes.
You won’t be affected by the cap if:
you’re on a fixed tariff
you’re on a standard variable green tariff that Ofgem has not included in the cap
If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills or top up your prepayment meter you might be able to get extra help. Check if you can get grants and benefits to help pay your energy bills.
How to avoid the increase
To avoid the increase, you can compare prices from different energy suppliers using a price comparison website. Make sure you act quickly - you'll need to ask to change tariffs before the price is increased. Make sure you use an authorised price comparison website. You can find a list of authorised price comparison websites on Ofgem's website.
If you look on a price comparison website, you won't find as many tariffs as usual - this is because many energy companies are struggling. If you don’t find a better tariff than the one you’re already on, it’s probably better to wait until deals are available again.
If you change tariff with your current supplier, they must put you on the new tariff no later than 20 working days after the price increase was due to start.
If you switch to a tariff with a new supplier, they must tell your current supplier they're taking over your supply. They have to do this no later than 20 working days after the price increase was due to start.
If you owe money on your account, your current supplier can prevent the switch until you've paid. They must write to tell you they're doing this. If you pay the balance within 30 working days of them telling you, the switch can still go ahead and your current supplier mustn't increase the price.
If you’re on a fixed tariff
Your supplier can’t increase the price you pay, unless the government has raised VAT.
If you’re not sure if you’re on a fixed tariff, check your bill. If it says your contract has an end date, this means you’re on a fixed tariff.
Fixed tariffs usually last for a year.
When your fixed tariff ends
It's best to stay on your fixed tariff until your contract ends. When your contract ends your supplier will often move you to their more expensive ‘standard’ tariff.
You can switch suppliers or tariff - but if you look on a price comparison website, you won't find as many tariffs as usual. This is because many energy companies are struggling. If you don’t find a better tariff than the one you’ve been moved to, it’s probably better to wait until deals are available again.
Your supplier should remind you when your contract is about to end.
If you find a cheaper deal you don’t have to wait until your contract ends before you switch supplier. You can switch without paying a fee if your contract ends in fewer than 7 weeks. You can switch earlier if your supplier contacts you and says you can.
If your fixed tariff has already ended, you can still switch supplier or tariff. Contact your supplier to ask about their other tariffs or check how to switch supplier.
You should complain to your supplier if they:
- don’t remind you about the end of your contract
- charge you a fee to switch supplier if your contract ends in the next 7 weeks
- charge you an exit fee to switch supplier after they said you can switch
If you’re struggling with living costs
If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.
If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.
You can also get help with debts.
If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.