Beat the Energy Price Rises - Switch to a Capped-Rate Tariff, Says Confused.com

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Petrol prices, food bills and household energy charges are all on the rise - and a serious worry to consumers. But unlike petrol and food, there is a way to protect your utilities bill against further rises for the rest of this year and most of the next, says Confused.com.

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Around half of the households in this country have never switched supplier, leaving some homes paying 20% more for their fuel than need be***. It's possible to reduce that overspend straight away simply by switching to a better value tariff - sometimes without even changing supplier!

With the wholesale cost of energy almost double what it was last year*, and further increases expected, now could be the time to switch to a capped-price tariff.

The current pick of the bunch is E.ON's Price Protection 2009, with prices guaranteed not to rise until October 2009. However, this is still almost 14%** more costly than the best non-capped deal - Click Energy 5 from British Gas.

But what looks like a so-so deal now may turn into a bargain in a couple of price hike's time. If utilities companies up their prices again - and rises of between 10% and 15% have not been uncommon - Click Energy 5 could become more expensive than E.ON's capped-rate offering.

But regardless of what type of tariff you switch to, if you've never changed energy supplier before you're almost certain to make savings.

According to Gareth Kloet of Confused.com, "Around half of the households in this country have never switched supplier, leaving some homes paying 20% more for their fuel than need be***. It's possible to reduce that overspend straight away simply by switching to a better value tariff - sometimes without even changing supplier!"

By switching to the best deal in the marketplace, the average customer who has never switched energy suppliers or tariffs can make a saving of £226***.

The easiest way to see if you can save money on your utilities bill is to use a comparison site. Gareth Kloet of Confused.com continues, "Use a site that is both energywatch-accredited, and one that allows you to switch to any of the 'Big 6' energy suppliers - you'd be surprised at some of the big comparison sites that slip up on this last point."

So if you're lumbered with a tariff that has you paying over the odds, or you want to cap your energy bills at today's prices, shop around for a better deal now.

*From Centrica Interim Management Statement, 12/5/08: "On average the month-ahead prices for gas and power were 92% and 100% respectively above those for the same period of the previous year. Against this backdrop all major energy suppliers increased residential energy tariffs during the first quarter of the year."
** Savings based on average annual consumption of 3,300 KWh for electricity and 20,500 KWh gas (medium consumption) comparing E.ON's Price Protection 2009 tariff (£986.33) against the medium consumption for British Gas' Click Energy 5 tariff (£866.15).
***Customers supplied by British Gas for their gas and their local electricity supplier will pay £1,092.57 per annum on average; whereas the average customer with the British Gas Click Energy 5 tariff on dual fuel will pay £866.15 per annum on average.

About Confused.com:
Confused.com is one of the UK's biggest and most popular price comparison services. Launched in 2002, it dominates the car insurance aggregator market and generates over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include home insurance, travel insurance, pet insurance, van insurance, motorbike insurance, breakdown cover and energy, as well as financial services products including credit cards, loans, mortgages and life insurance.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides its customers with a free, wholly objective comparison service to help with their decision making. Using cutting-edge technology, Confused.com has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers search, buy and apply for whichever product or policy best matches their individual needs. Its service is based on the most up to date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

Confused.com is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. Confused.com is regulated by the FSA.

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Jennifer Rose
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