For years, Money Mail has urged readers to regularly switch energy supplier.
It wasn’t the most glamorous money-saving tip, but sticking with your existing provider meant you were almost certainly overpaying.
And the return on this straightforward, mundane chore was lucrative, with households saving hundreds of pounds a year. But for now, you should forget all that.
The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices. And the market remains incredibly volatile, with experts struggling to predict what will happen over the coming months.
Stick with it: The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices meaning it not longer makes sense to switch providers
This means suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, are just not able to offer competitive fixed deals.
Some comparison websites are still running an energy switching service, but there are only a handful of tariffs listed.
And, as we reported last week, some would cost the average household almost £3,000 a year.
So for now, your best course of action is to stay put.
If you are coming to the end of a fixed deal, roll onto your supplier’s standard variable tariff.
These default deals are protected by the energy watchdog’s price cap — £1,277 a year for the average gas and electricity user — until April 2022. And there are no exit fees, so you are free to switch away the moment better deals return.
For those who signed up to ultra‑cheap deals a year or two ago, there is no getting away from the fact that your bills are going to rise.
But locking into a new fixed deal now could mean you’re hit with even higher energy costs over the cold winter months.
To avoid adding to any confusion, Money Mail has temporarily removed all energy tariffs from our Best Buys tables.
But rest assured, we are tracking the market closely and will update you as soon as something changes.
Suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, can’t offer competitive fixed deals
While on the topic of rising bills, a big thank you to everyone for their top energy-saving tips after I publicly scolded my husband, Chris, last week.
Money Mail reader Molly Clark suggests leaving the oven open after cooking so not to waste the heat, using candles for softer lighting and ditching the dishwasher in favour of a good old-fashioned washing-up bowl.
Another reader, Robert, goes a step further and washes his dishes with cold water.
A small squirt from a 29p bottle of diluted white vinegar along with a dash of washing-up liquid on a little green fabric scouring cloth used in circular motions will ensure they are squeaky-clean, he assures me.
But I was most taken by Julie Priest’s suggestion of a fridge alarm that will go off when the door is left open.
Amazon has one with a ‘repeated siren’ mode — and if that doesn’t teach Chris to close it, I don’t know what will.
But at £21.99, I might stick to nagging for now.
Keep those tips coming!
Many see a monthly subscription, such as Netflix, as essential (pictured: Netflix’s Squid Game)
Need for Netflix
It’s fascinating to see how our spending priorities have changed since the pandemic.
Take the popular streaming service Netflix. Once a luxury, a monthly subscription is now considered essential, according to a report by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association published yesterday.
One pensioner commented that their partner’s quality of life would just not be the same without it.
Another man from Wales said that he had not realised how important dining out was for ’emotional well-being’.
But as the cost of living soars, experts fear people could cut back on pension saving. With many already failing to put aside enough for the lifestyle they want in retirement, this could prove disastrous.
So if you have spare cash leftover at the end of the month, consider using it to give your future self a better life.
It could be me…
Inspired by a colleague, I bought my first ever EuroMillions lottery ticket last Friday. It was a rollover with a juicy £174million jackpot, and I was feeling lucky.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. But what fun I had daydreaming about what I’d do with such a windfall.
And since no one scooped the prize money, I figured there was no harm in having one more go in last night’s record £184million draw. Who knows, I could be a multi-millionaire by the time you read this.