Arun and Chichester CAB column

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Q: My energy supplier has announced price rises. I want to find out if I can get a better deal elsewhere, but I don’t know where to start.

A: If your energy prices have shot up, you can find out if you can get a cheaper deal elsewhere by switching supplier.

You can use a price comparison site approved by Ofgem, or get help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Energy suppliers must give you at least 30 days’ notice of any price increases, so act fast to make changes before the increases come in.

If you decide to switch suppliers, you need to start the switching process within 20 days of being told about a price increase, that way your existing supplier can’t enforce the price rise.

Under new rules, if you’re on a fixed-term contract and it’s coming to an end, your supplier must tell you between 42 and 49 days beforehand so, if you want to, you can switch suppliers during this time without any penalties.

And if you are on a fixed-term contract signed on or after July 15, 2013, suppliers can’t increase prices, unless the price increase was agreed in advance – for example with a tracker tariff.

If your supplier breaks these rules, you can complain, first to the energy supplier, then to the Energy Ombudsman.

For the most up-to-date advice, please visit the Adviceguide website at www.adviceguide.org.uk.

Opening hours:

Bognor Regis Advice Centre, Town Hall, Clarence Road, Bognor Regis,Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10am-4.30pm, Wed 10am-7pm.

Chichester Advice Centre, Bell House, 6 Theatre Lane, Chichester. Mon to Fri, 10am-4.30pm.

Littlehampton Advice Centre, 14/16 Anchor Springs, Littlehampton: Mon, Tue, Wed and Thurs 10am-4pm, Fri 10am-1pm.

Advice line 0844 477 1171.