The price cap on out-of-contract energy tariffs is rising by its biggest ever amount on 1 October. If you're on a standard tariff, it means you need to take action now to switch provider to avoid a price hike.
Cheap deals are dwindling - so much so that some commercial comparison sites closed their energy comparison services on Friday 17 September citing a lack of available deals.
That doesn't mean the deals aren't there, though. There are still a few to be found, provided you know where to look.
Often the cheapest deals are sold directly through providers. So to save you trawling through all of their websites, use our free switching service - it will show you the whole market. You might find you then have to contact the supplier directly, but you can do so knowing it's the best on the market for you.
While soaring gas prices mean you're unlikely to find a deal as cheap as we've seen in the past, it's still worth running a comparison to make sure you're not overpaying - especially if you're on an out-of-contract tariff that will be hit by October's price cap rise.
The change in the price cap means that energy companies can raise their price-capped deals on 1 October - and many have announced that they will.
These price-capped tariffs are also called standard or default deals. The increase will depend on how you pay, and how much gas and electricity you use.
If you've not changed your energy tariff for a while, you may have been moved onto a default tariff from a fixed one when the contract finished.
It takes about three weeks to switch energy company, so now's the time to start if you want to beat the price hike.
Choosing your new supplier or tariff online can take as little as 10 minutes - the rest of the work is down to your energy company.
Some companies promise to complete your switch within 21 days. These are firms signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee and include British Gas, Bulb, EDF Energy, Eon, Octopus Energy and Shell Energy.
But the average switching time across all companies is:
That's according to energy regulator Ofgem and doesn't include the 14-day cooling-off period where you can still change your mind.
Bulb also said that it would increase prices, along with smaller firms Green, Igloo Energy, Nabuh Energy and Zebra Power.
Utility Warehouse announced an increase, but of up to 5% below the maximum allowed.
If your provider is going to increase its prices, it must give you 30 days' notice.
The majority of people find switching easy. Some 86% of people who'd switched energy supplier in the past year said it was straightforward.*
Follow our tips to get the best quote and help the process go smoothly:
*Online survey of 7,203 members of the Great British general public in September 2020, of which 3,168 had switched energy supplier in the last four years.
A £68 saving is based on the difference between the cheapest available tariff and the current price cap, based on a household using a medium amount of gas and electricity (12,000kWh and 2,900kWh, respectively), paying by fixed direct debit with paperless bills.
Data is from Energylinx and correct on 31 August 2021. Prices are averaged across regions and rounded to the nearest whole pound. Savings will be greater when the new price cap takes effect.