Fuel debts may get worse as several tariffs set to expire

Household energy prices might be about to surge for large numbers of consumers, with the rises hitting hard at those in debt or otherwise struggling to make ends meet.

Price comparison site GoCompare.com has noted that no less than 15 dual fuel tariffs are set to expire on September 30th. In nine of those cases, automatic roll-over onto standard tariffs will result in higher bills, including two of the big six – EDF Energy and Scottish Power.

The largest increase in bills over a 12-month period will be £332.71, which applies to the M&S Energy paperless billing tariff for its customers in the Scottish Hydro region. Overall, the average increase will represent a jump of £165.12, the equivalent of a 14.89 per cent price hike.

Energy spokesman at GoCompare.com Ben Wilson said: “With darker nights and colder weather, September marks the start of ‘thermostat switch-on season’, where household energy usage starts to increase.

“Therefore, it’s even more important that energy customers avoid paying over the odds by allowing themselves to be rolled over onto expensive variable tariffs when their fixed deal comes to an end.”

Even with widespread switching as consumers hunt better tariffs, the reality is that energy prices have risen faster than inflation in recent years, leading to more fuel poverty and also arrears for many struggling with debt.

In many cases, a debt management plan can help householders find ways to handle and reduce the amounts they owe in a way that will keep their creditors satisfied, be they energy firms, banks, credit card companies, landlords or anyone else.

Winter can certainly be a hard time with energy payments as people turn on the heating and lighting more – and as Christmas approaches, there are other burdens on the household finances too.

According to the government’s Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report 2016, the projected number of people in fuel poverty this year will be around 2.3 million, similar to 2014 levels following a slight rise this year and a corresponding drop in 2015.

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