Cheapest gas and electric Martin Lewis

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MARTIN Lewis has named the three top energy deals right now as he urged households to check if they can save hundreds of pounds.

It comes as the Big Six energy firms confirmed price hikes for millions of customers starting in April.

The Sun has reported on British Gas upping bills by £97, while Scottish Power, EDF Energy and EOn are hiking prices by £96.

NPower and SSE are also increasing prices by £96.

Writing in his weekly MoneySavingExpert newsletter, Martin said customers who aren’t happy with the bill changes should shop around for the best deal.

In two of the examples he provided, he said the average saving is £218 for customers affected by the energy price cap, which is increasing to £1,138.

What to do if you can’t pay your bills

FALLING behind on your energy bills can be extremely stressful.

If you’re struggling to pay what you owe, contact your supplier as soon as possible.

Your provider has to help you come up with a solution, and you should be able to negotiate a deal that works for you both.

One option is to agree a payment plan where you pay off your debts in affordable instalments.

You may be able to pay off your debts directly from your benefits through the Fuel Direct Scheme.

A fixed amount will automatically be taken to cover what you owe plus your usage.

To be eligible, you must be getting one of the following benefits:

  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income support
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Universal Credit (but only if you’re not working)

If you cannot come to an agreement with your supplier, they may try to force you to get a prepayment meter installed.

In very rare cases, where you refuse to negotiate, your supplier might threaten you with disconnection.

Before you switch, check if you’re still in contract with your current supplier to avoid any exit fee charges.

Martin said: “It’s predictable, but depressing. The Big Six energy firms have just announced new prices for standard tariffs (those most people are on) from 1 April.

“All are hiking them by about 9%, to within £1 of the max under the new price cap – a jump of £96/yr on avg for those with typical usage.

“Yet you needn’t accept the price hike, as there are tariffs £100s cheaper to switch to, many of which are fixes meaning the rate is locked in.”

We explain the best deals suggested by MoneySavingExpert below.

The higher bills from Big Six suppliers are a result of Ofgem announcing it would up its price cap by £96.

The regulator is increasing the price cap from £1,042 per year to £1,138 for the six month period from 1 April.

Ofgem sets the price cap twice a year to limit how much suppliers can charge customers on standard variable tariffs, depending on wholesale prices.

Energy bills: How do auto-switching websites work?

IF you’re lazy or forgetful – especially when it comes to bills – it could be a good idea to check out auto-switching sites.

They work by switching you on to the cheapest gas and electricity deals possible from a decent supplier each year.

It is great for those who want to save cash without the legwork, but keep in mind you might not always get the best deals.

This is because some auto-switching sites can be picky about which suppliers they work with.

To be sure you’re getting the best deal, it is always worth going the extra mile myself and comparing prices from a range of sources.

Weflip, Look After My Bills, Switchcraft and Labrador sites all offer auto-switching services for free.