Brits warned as ease of lockdown pushes up energy prices

Abigail Fenton
·2 min read
Energy tarrif prices are up 3% since 1 April. (Lauren Hurley/PA Archive/PA Images)
Energy tariff prices are up 3% since 1 April. Photos: Lauren Hurley/PA Archive/PA Images

The easing of lockdown is pushing up energy prices, with the average cost of tariffs already up 3% between 1 April and 6 July, research shows.

The coronavirus lockdown contributed to a major fall in wholesale energy prices as business and industrial use of energy dropped. This led to consumers experiencing some of the lowest energy prices seen in the market in recent times.

However, price comparison website MoneySuperMarket’s research into the 25 cheapest UK tariffs found prices are already starting to increase again as the country emerges from full lockdown. On 1 April, the average cost of the top 25 cheapest tariffs was £810 but by 6 July it increased to £835.

With an estimated 11 million Brits still on expensive standard variable tariffs, many could save up to £300 by changing their energy tariffs onto a fixed rate deal, the research also found.

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MoneySuperMarket is “encouraging consumers to take advantage of low energy prices before costs increase as a result of lockdown restrictions being eased”.

There are currently 129 deals cheaper than the price cap rate of £1,127, the data shows.

Stephen Murray, energy spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said: “For the past few months, many British consumers have enjoyed very low energy bills due to depressed wholesale prices as a result of reduced energy demand in the wider economy.

“With lockdown now easing, that demand is starting to return. With this in mind, if you are on your supplier’s standard tariff, or if you haven’t switched for 12 months, you are probably paying too much for your energy. You should consider switching to a cheaper fixed rate to get the best price possible and lock in energy costs for next winter while prices are low.”

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He added: “Switching is simple, it only takes a few minutes online and your supplier handles the switching process. Best of all, customers that switch save an average of £290.”

So Energy this week launched a 100% renewable, duel-fuel tariff, that costs £845 based on average usage, that is £282 cheaper than the current price cap level and it comes with a £25 bill credit to new subscribers.