Time to act

British Gas brazenly rose their prices a month ago, and now it's the turn of Scottish and Southern Energy to do likewise and raise prices. With the four remaining providers poised to follow suit, what can consumers do?

The answer is that you should switch until you're sure you're getting the best deal and to opt for fixed-price deals to give peace of mind that you won't have to suddenly have to cough up an extra 20 percent on top of your regular bill. As many of us simply can't be bothered to change energy providers, as a result we remain on price plans that cost hundreds of pounds more than other prices offered by the industry so it's a good idea to keep an eye on the latest developments.

Scott Byrom, of the price comparison website moneysupermarket.com, said: 'Bearing in mind historical energy market price rises, it's highly likely the other energy providers will follow suit. So now is the time to get on to the best fixed-price energy tariff for your usage level and the area you live in.'

Ann Robinson of uSwitch similarly recommends opting for a fixed price deal, saying: 'There is no room for complacency and I would urge consumers to act now. Fixing your energy prices is an option that offers security and peace of mind, especially for those worried about the impact of price hikes on their household budget. But, whatever type of plan you opt for, always make sure you get an independent and impartial comparison based on your own personal circumstances before signing up.'

According to Mr Byrom, the best fixed deal out there is the Fix Saver v2 from EDF. Bear in mind too that paying by direct debit and managing your account on line will also save you pennies.

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