Compare gas and electricity suppliers and you'll find that many charge an exit fee if you want to switch. But you don't always have to pay an exit fee - we can tell you how to avoid it.
Our research found that up to one in ten energy customers who haven't switched energy supplier say they can't do so because they have a fixed contract. These contracts often charge a termination fee to leave before the end of the deal.
But choose and act carefully, and you can avoid paying an exit fee altogether. We've found that several of the cheapest gas and electricity deals from small companies have no exit fees. Plus, towards the end of your fixed tariff, suppliers can't charge you a fee if you want to leave.
Below, we reveal the cheapest energy deals with no exit fees.
If you're signed up to a fixed-term tariff and want to get out of it before the end of the contract, you'll often have to pay. But don't let you put this off; check how much you could save by switching, and subtract the exit fee to see if you'd still be better off.
We scoured the market to find the cheapest energy deals without exit fees attached; perfect if you want the flexibility to switch again. Here we've listed the top three gas and electricity tariffs, which are available to all energy customers in England, Scotland and Wales.
We've also calculated how much these tariffs would save the average household in a year, compared with 's standard tariff (the priciest Big Six variable deal) and 's standard tariff (the cheapest Big Six variable deal).
If you live in north Wales, north-west England or Yorkshire, there's a cheaper tariff from Eversmart Energy (£796). Breeze Energy is also selling a dual-fuel tariff (£834) but it's not available to those who live in north Scotland.
When you're in the last 42-49 days of a fixed energy tariff, you do not have to pay a fee to switch. In this time, your energy supplier should send you a letter telling you that your gas and electricity tariff is expiring.
It will set out the cheapest deal for you and what will happen if you don't sign up to a new tariff. Usually this will mean that you will roll automatically onto its standard variable tariff (often pricier).
Remember that the cheapest deal your supplier tells you about is its cheapest tariff; you might save more on your bills by choosing a tariff with another supplier.
If you are on a standard variable energy tariff (an out-of-contract tariff), it has no end date and no exit fees. So you can move to a new energy deal any time.
Our data is from Energylinx. Prices are based on a dual-fuel tariff available in all regions for a medium user (using the Ofgem averages of 3,100kWh electricity and 12,000kWh gas per year), paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless bills, and are averaged across all regions. Exact prices can vary according to region, usage and payment method. Prices are rounded to the nearest whole pound.
The prices given above are correct on 6 November 2017.
*Survey of 4,773 members of the general public who haven't switched energy supplier, October 2016.