Now is the time to switch and save

Scottish and Southern Energy became the last of the big six utility providers to raise their prices, saying it would increase electricity by an average of 14.2 percent and gas by 15.8 percent from April 1 for existing customers, although new ones will go straight onto the increased rates.

Npower was the first to announce double-digit price increases, at the start of January, followed closely by EDF, British Gas, Scottish Power and E.ON.

As all the big suppliers have now raised their prices, this means that now is the best time to compare prices to get the best deal for you.

Every household in the country is now likely to be hit with average bills of more than £1,000, so how much could you save?

Consumers in the UK are free to choose which company supplies their gas and electricity. There are no changes to the pipes, or wires, all that changes is the price you pay and who you pay it to.

Ofgem says half the population has never switched, but it almost certainly worth having a look at. A closer look shows that the energy companies are increasingly going in for "regional pricing", particularly for electricity – offering cheaper deals in areas they’re hoping to win new business.

In other words they are relying on customer inertia and charging loyal customers as much as possible and using this money to subsidise price cuts in other regions. So you could benefit by finding the supplier most eager to win new business in your area.

To maximise savings which Energywatch claim can be as high as £200 you may need to buy both your gas and electricity from the same supplier, and pay bills promptly, preferably by direct debit, or be willing to manage your accounts on the internet and do without a paper bill.

It does take a time to switch suppliers, little more than an hour, and not many people can command anything like £200 for an hour’s work.

Click here to fill in the online form and find out how much you could save.

Of course, as well as considering changing supplier we would recommend that you take the opportunity to look at what other energy efficiency measures you can take to help reduce your overall energy bills even more.

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