'Easy pickings' warning for householders ahead of energy price cap rise

Energy auto-switch site Flipper warned today that around 11 million households are being lined up to pay extra as the industry fears that people will default on their gas and electricity payments as the fall-out from covid 19 hits.

Flipper says energy regulator Ofgem’s decision to up the maximum price that suppliers can charge from April 1 to £1,138 for the average bill – £96 higher than the previous cap – will have a disproportionate impact on people who are on poor value tariffs.

Barry Hayward, managing director of Flipper said: “While Ofgem is responding in an appropriate way to address an unprecedented situation, it does nonetheless leave many including the elderly and the most vulnerable people who are on standard or default tariffs bearing the brunt of this.

“We don’t yet know what the full effect of coronavirus crisis will be, but with so many companies going into administration and job redundancies, it will no doubt increase the number of households struggling to pay their bills.

“For an average family home with medium energy usage, there is a price difference of more than £900 between the highest standard variable rate charge and the cheapest deal on the market, which could make all the difference.

“People on standard tariffs are easy pickings for energy suppliers. They are often elderly or among the most vulnerable in society, or else householders who have been loyal to same supplier for years, or failed to notice they’ve come to the end of a fixed rate.”

It is estimated that the 11 million households on standard tariffs miss out on collective annual savings of more than £3 billion by failing to switch to a competitively priced deal.

“Many people never check whether they could save money by switching energy supplier, either because they see it as a hassle or don’t feel confident enough,” added Barry, “but with bills set to rise by 9 per cent, it’s more important than ever to be on a good deal.

“Flipper check the market for their members every month and switch them every time a saving of £50 a year is found – even if that’s to a new deal with their current supplier. It means we spot if their current supplier has introduced a new tariff that is cheaper than the deal they are on, then we switch them over straightaway.”

Unlike comparison sites, who get paid commission by the energy providers for switching people to them, Flipper the UK’s first auto-switching service, do not take money from suppliers.

Members pay an annual fee of £30 when they are switched for the first time; tariffs are checked every month and customers are automatically moved to a better tariff if they can save £50 a year.

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