Energy prices expected to rise

Posted by Kevin Pearce in Personal Finance on 6 December 2016 - Kevin is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Energy prices have always fluctuated in response to changes in world markets but a uSwitch study states that last month alone saw an increase in wholesale prices, by 15% for gas and 20% for electricity. This will inevitably result in higher bills, just in time for winter, which is when 70% of our annual usage takes place.

The same study provides worrying statistics that suggest 32% of working families are already struggling to pay their bills, which will obviously be heightened in the double-whammy of increased prices and increased consumption. Combined with the impending doom of potential mortgage rate increases, the coming year could well be a bit rubbish.

On the bright side we have had three years without increases, although that may not be of any consolation to those who are already struggling.

There are ways to reduce your bills, the easiest of which is to minimise usage where you can, but almost a third of working families are taking the extreme measure of not putting the heating on at all - even when it is too cold. While there is merit in taking your mum’s advice and putting on a big jumper, vulnerable people (namely the old and the very young) will need to be kept at a pleasant 18 degrees Celsius, according to government guidelines (UK).

Comparison websites can prove useful when looking for a new deal, assuming that you are not currently tied in. You will nearly always get a better offer if you swap provider rather than simply renewing with the energy supplier you are already with. Be sure to read the small print and ensure that you actually are getting a better deal. There has been tightening of regulations to ensure that the different tariffs are easier to understand and that the cheapest deals are presented first, but there is still a long way to go on this front.

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