More than 375,000 households could be automatically switched onto more expensive ‘default’ energy tariffs in April if they do not switch tariff or provider when their fixed deal comes to an end.

An additional 15 million households, who are already on their provider’s standard tariff, could face a price rise of £96 on 1st April. This is because Ofgem is increasing its default energy price cap from £1,042 to £1,138. The increased cost is likely to push some families into financial difficulty, as research shows that energy bills only need to rise by an average of £85 a year to tip households with children into financial difficulty.

In April, there are 179 fixed energy tariffs coming to an end, according to new research by comparethemarket.com. Analysis of the fixed tariffs ending during April finds that the average increase to energy bills could be £265 per household across the year.

The data and analysis reveal that if customers do not switch when their fixed tariff ends, energy companies are set to benefit from a huge ‘inertia windfall’. Rolling off fixed-term deals onto default tariffs could collectively cost UK households nearly £100 million a year, compared to their current energy costs.

Peter Earl, Head of Energy at comparethemarket.com, said “April brings some good news for households with lockdown easing, spring arriving and warmer weather. However, the start of April could also see household budgets tighten as many are facing significantly higher energy costs if they don’t take action to move to a cheaper deal.”

“In spite of the price cap, suppliers benefit from customers who stay with them and roll onto their standard priced tariff instead of looking around for a better deal. Then, with the revised price cap level allowing suppliers to increase the cost of their default tariffs, this could push a number of households further into financial difficulty.”

“Households do not have to take these price increases lying down. They can look to move to another supplier and lock in a competitively priced deal. The good news is that there are more than a hundred tariffs currently available that are cheaper than the energy price cap level, and people can save substantial sums by switching.”

There are currently as many as 191  tariffs available on the market which are cheaper than the new energy price cap level on average.*

Month Est. number of customers affected Total cost to consumers Number of tariffs ending Average increase
April 375,438 £99,690,418 179 £265.53