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Can your energy supplier put up its prices?

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

As the market price for gas and electricity changes, your supplier may want to put its prices up or down.

This page explains when your energy supplier can put up its prices. It also tells you what you can do if you’re not happy about a price increase.

When can your energy supplier put up its prices?

Some contracts will allow for variations in price. Your energy supplier has to give you at least 21 days advance notice of any price increase or other changes to your contract that would leave you worse off.

Other contracts will be for a fixed-term tariff where you agree to pay a specified price for a fixed period, regardless of whether variable tariffs go up or down.

How to avoid the increase

To avoid the increase you can:

  • shop around for a cheaper tariff with another supplier
  • ask your current supplier if there's a cheaper tariff.

All suppliers have arrangements in place to allow you to switch, even if you are in debt. Ask your supplier to tell you about the options available to you. 

More about switching when you are in debt 

Make sure you act quickly - you'll need to ask to change tariffs before the price is increased.

If you tell your supplier you are switching but don’t choose a new supplier

If you tell your existing supplier you are switching but don’t go through the switching process, the price rise will apply to you.

If you’re on a fixed term contract

Avoiding price rises on a fixed term contract will depend on the terms of the contract you are signed up to. Some contracts will allow for variations in price. The contract should say when you will be informed of price changes and state where you can get up-to-date information on prices. Other contracts will be for a fixed-term tariff where you agree to pay a specified price for a fixed period, regardless of whether variable tariffs go up or down. Check with your supplier before you sign a contract if the price is fixed, if so, how long it is fixed for and what penalty there is if you want to terminate the contract earlier than the fixed term.

If you’re on a fixed term contract, you’ll be notified before the contract ends so you can decide if you want to stay with your supplier or switch. You’ll get details of the rates you’ll move onto if you stay with the same supplier and don’t agree to a different tariff. You’ll be able to switch without having to pay any termination fees and you can’t be rolled forward onto another fixed term contract without your consent.

If you don’t get notice about the end of your fixed term contract, are charged a termination fee to switch or get rolled over to another fixed term contract without agreeing to this, you should first complain to your energy supplier, If you're still not happy with the outcome, you can complain to the Consumer Council.

How can you make sure the price rise is applied correctly?

If you are notified of a price increase and you want to stay with your supplier, you should take a meter reading on the date of the price increase. Give this to the supplier. If you don’t do this, your supplier will have to estimate how much energy has been used before and after the price change. This means you could end up paying the higher price for energy you used before the price change.

Next steps

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