Martin Lewis calls for households on fixed energy deals to be allowed to switch without penalty

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Consumer rights campaigner Martin Lewis has called for energy companies to allow customers to leave fixed-rate deals without paying an exit penalty.

The Money Saving Expert founder told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that allowing customers to escape expensive fixed rates with no penalty would be the “bare minimum” energy providers could do.

“Some people have made a legitimate choice to fix their bills,” he said. “What I would be calling for as a bare minimum is that anybody who is on a fix should be allowed by every energy company to switch to the new state subsidised energy tariff and they should be allowed to do that without any exit penalties.”

Some energy customers have recently switched from standard variable tariffs, which fall under energy regulator Ofgem’s price cap, to much higher fixed rates, amid predictions the annual household energy bill would rise to over £6,500 this winter.

At the time, some fixed-rate deals cost far higher than the capped variable rate, but lower than the predicted price cap, meaning it would have been beneficial for households to fix. 

However, with Prime Minister Liz Truss expected to set the cap at £2,500, customers who fixed in recent weeks would be left paying over the odds. 

Those trying to escape their fixed-rate deals early will typically have to pay at least £100, with some deals incurring a fine of £600, according to USwitch, a comparison website.

Most major providers no longer have any fixed deals on offer, according to USwitch.

Mr Lewis said the recently-elected Prime Minister’s rumoured plans to freeze the cap were “not perfect” but that “millions if not tens of millions of people will breathe a sigh of relief that they will be able to afford their energy bills this winter.”

He added: “We need to welcome that something is being done and that the political will has changed so that the people up and down the country are not going to face hikes of 120pc by January, putting a typical annual bill up to £5,000.”

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