New energy bill blow: EDF pulls cheapest fixed deal
Filed under: Utilities
So why should this be ringing alarm bells?
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WithdrawingEDF said it was close to the maximum number of customers it would accept on its Blue Cap Promise - its cheapest fixed rate deal for gas and electricity on the market at the moment. It guaranteed a fixed price until 2014, and cost an average of £1,046.
On the face of it, this isn't the end of the world. It isn't the cheapest fix around. Scottish Power has confirmed that its fixed price guarantee will last until 2014 - and remains £6 cheaper than the Blue Cap Promise. EDF itself will launch another deal shortly - although it is expected to be more expensive than this one.
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ConcernsHowever, the huge popularity of the deal, and its relatively swift exit from the market should be ringing alarm bells, because it reveals just how worried consumers and providers are getting about rising prices this winter.
EDF clearly thinks prices will rise - which is why it has a limit on the number who can sign up to this deal. It's not alone in this thinking. After-all only last week Scottish and Southern Energy announced that its gas and electricity prices will be going up 9% from October.
Meanwhile, the rush of customers to fix is a sign that we all think prices will continue to rise across the market. SSE is unlikely to be the last of the rises announced over the next few weeks. Quidco managing director, Andy Oldham says: "Further news from energy providers detailing pricing strategies is expected, signalling the start of the search for the best energy deals this winter."
So we can expect the beginning of the cold weather to coincide with hikes all round - and the winter bills to be horrifying.
Act fastIt means that those who want to fix need to act fast. Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: "Consumers who want to fix their energy prices cannot afford to hang around - these deals are flying off the shelves and could be pulled at any time. People have quickly grasped that paying a low price today, coupled with a price guarantee and no exit penalties makes fixing your prices a real 'no brainer'. It gives absolute peace of mind coupled with flexibility, vital for consumers as we head into what could well be a winter of price hikes."
The best deals on the market at the moment include First Utility's iSave Fixed v3 with an average price of £1,040, Scottish Power's Online Energy Fixed January 2014 at an average of £1,052, and npower's Energy Online October 2013 for an average of £1,064. However, it pays to do a search for your area , based on your own usage to be sure you get a deal to suit you.