Beat rising energy prices with fixed-rate tariffs

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With SSE announcing an 8.2% rise in energy prices, UK consumers are being urged to switch to a fixed rate tariff before the remaining members of the big six energy firms to follow suit.

The SSE price rise will affect around 7.3 million customers, who will face further pressure on their household finances this Christmas, with the rise adding £2 a week or £104 a year for those on the average dual fuel tariff.

Its rivals are expected to announce their increases imminently. So what can consumers do to combat rising prices?

"We're urging the nation to act now and start saving some money rather than just letting it go up in smoke," said Clare Francis of "You can fix your energy prices today and that's what you should do because if you hang around and do nothing, the current best deals could be withdrawn from sale."

According to the comparison site, the best fixed-rate energy tariffs can save households around £200 on the cost of their annual bill.

One of the cheapest on the market is First Utility's iSave Fixed v9 April 2015, which would see the average dual fuel customer paying £1,170.48 a year. This is followed by Sainsbury's Energy Online October 2014, which costs £1,172.15 a year.

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Of the big six, the cheapest fixed-rate on the market is offered by nPower, with its Online Price Fix November 2014 costing an average £1,182.03.

EDF Energy has the next best deal, with the average user spending £1,183.04 on its Blue+ Price Promise March 2015, while Scottish Power's Online Fixed Price Energy December 2014 costs £1,204.51.

Longer fixed-rate deals are also available:

EDF Energy: Blue +Price Freeeeze March 2017, £1,339.70
nPower: Price Protector March 2017, £1,341.36
Scottish Power: Help Beat Breast Cancer Fixed Price January 2017, £1,339.72
First Utility: iSave Fixed v10 January 2016, £1,274.06
nPower: Fix December 2015, £1,405.7

"There could also be help available for those already struggling to afford to heat their homes," Francis added. "The elderly and those on low incomes could be eligible for support under the Warm Home Discount Scheme so it is definitely worth these people speaking to their provider to see if they qualify."