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Customers can reject gas and electricity price rise under Ofgem rule

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An Ofgem rule that means customers can reject their supplier's price rise and switch to another company could be used by thousands as increasing wholesale prices drive up the cost of energy.


SSE, British Gas and ScottishPower have already announced that the price of their household gas and electricity will rise before Christmas, leaving many worried about how they will be able to manage the extra financial strain.


However, according to an Ofgem regulation, customers are legally entitled to reject the price change up to 20 days after receiving notification by letter and switch to a new energy supplier.

It may take some time for the supplier to inform you of the price rise by letter, but when this has been received and you have written to them to tell them that you reject the price rise, you have 15 days to switch to a new supplier.


Once you have done this, your prices will be held at the rate you were paying before the price rise until your switch to your new supplier has gone through.


Even if SSE, British Gas or ScottishPower are not your present supplier it is worth remembering this rule - there is still a strong possibility that these three may not be the last to announce an unwelcome hike in their prices.


Earlier this month, uSwitch reported that the number of UK households living in fuel poverty had risen to 4.5 million in 2008 from two million in 2004.


Customers can avoid falling into debt by ensuring that they are paying the lowest possible cost for their energy by comparing gas and electricity prices (which could save them up to £532 alone) and also by being more energy efficient.


Ofgem have already hinted that they may want to force energy suppliers to give their customers a minimum of 30 days notice before a price rise - a move that would be welcome after ScottishPower's price rise gave their customers just six days notice of a 2% rise in their gas prices and 8.9% in electricity.


4 Steps to rejecting your price rise

1. Wait for a letter from your energy supplier telling you about the price rise, this could take up to 65 days from the date the price rise takes effect.

2. Write to your energy supplier, telling them that you reject the price rise and will be switching.

3. Switch your gas and electricity supplier within 15 day of getting the price rise announcement letter from your supplier.


4. Enjoy your cheaper rates until your switch goes through.



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