08:33 09 May 2013
Is your fixed-rate energy deal due to end in the next few days or weeks? If so, you'll fall onto a more expensive standard tariff and could end up £319 a year worse off unless you take action right away.
Three of the Big Six energy companies have at least one fixed-rate tariff due to end in the next four weeks, and they'll think nothing of shifting you onto a pricey standard tariff if you don't grasp the nettle and do something about it.
Here's a look at which tariffs are ending, how much it'll cost you if you do nothing, and how much you could save by taking matters into your own hands.
Scottish Power's Fixed Saver June 2013 tariff (average annual bill of £1,109.71) ends on May 31. If you slip on to the supplier's standard tariff, your annual bill could go up by £258.74 (based on the average annual bill of Scottish Power's standard tariff).
Switch to the market leading EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise February 2015 instead and you could save £176.80.
Npower's Bill Saver May 2013 tariff (average annual bill of £1,086.39) ends on May 31. If you let your account revert to Npower's standard tariff, your annual bill could go up to as much as £1,352.23.
Switch to the EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise February 2015 instead and you could save £160.58 a year.
Elsewhere, the Npower Go Fix 11 tariff (average annual bill of £1,033.19) ends on May 21. If subscribers to this tariff allow themselves to slide onto Npower's standard tariff after this date could see their bills go up to £1,352.23.
Again, switching to the EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise February 2015 instead could save you £160.58 a year.
E.On's Track and Save 12 tariff (average annual bill of £1,237.86) ends today, May 1. Letting your account default to the supplier's standard tariff could see your annual bill go up to as much as £1,328.98.
Switch to the EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise February 2015 instead and you could save £137.33 a year.
You could already be paying too much
The following tariffs have already expired, so unless you've switched to a more competitive tariff in the meantime, you've most likely been moved onto your supplier's standard tariff and would benefit from moving to a more competitive tariff.
As far as subscribers to these tariffs are concerned, those worst hit by reverting to a standard tariff would be Scottish Power Online Fixed Price Energy May 2013 v2 customers, whose average annual bills could go up from £1,070.42 to £1,368.45.
If this sounds like you, switching to the EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise February 2015 instead of defaulting onto Scottish Power's standard tariff could save you £176.80 a year.
Watch your expiration dates
Energy suppliers will let you know by post when your energy deal is about to end, although this might easily be missed.
But as we've seen above, reverting from an expired deal to the supplier's standard tariff can cost you a significant amount of money each year, so it's vital to stay on top of your tariff's expiration dates.
In fact, why not go one better and make a habit of regularly comparing your tariff against the best the market has to offer?
For example, the EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise February 2015 tariff might be market leading now, but it's a competitive market, and it could be knocked off its throne by another supplier.
The good thing about EDF's tariff, however, is that it doesn't have any termination fees, so even if another supplier tops EDF's deal, you'll be free to switch without incurring any penalties.
EDF also says that if you could save at least £1 a week on another tariff, based on typical use, it will tell you. However, there's all sorts of small print attached to this claim, so the only way to be sure if you could save by moving elsewhere is to have a look for yourself.
And you can do just that over on our energy channel. It's free, easy to use and only takes a few minutes - so between keeping an eye on your tariff's expiration date and comparing tariffs elsewhere, you'll never have to worry about sliding onto an expensive standard tariff again.
Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at MoneySupermarket.com, said: "Energy suppliers have a duty to inform their fixed customers 30 days before a tariff is about to end. If you haven't received a notification from your provider but think yours ends soon, contact them immediately to find out exactly when it finishes.
"The simplest way to find out which new tariff will be the best one for you is to use a comparison site. With prices expected to continue to rise, we recommend going for a fixed online deal, to protect you from future price rises, as opposed to a variable rate deal.
"You might pay slightly more initially but, over the term of the deal, it will probably offer better value for money."
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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