The start of April signals a steep hike in bill prices for households across the country.
Not only are energy companies increasing prices in response to the Ofgem cap increase, a number of mobile phone providers are raising bills while Sky hikes costs for TV and broadband customers.
Meanwhile, council tax, TV licence costs and water bills rises are also set to bite.
This is Money, with help from bill comparison site, Is My Bill Fair?, has crunched the data to find out exactly how much more households could be in line to pay after all of the price increases kick in on 1 April 2019.
We found that some unlucky customers could be paying almost £350 a year more – and are urging households to Check Your Bill as part of our campaign.
Many UK companies have raised their prices with all of the increases due to kick in on April 1
Is My Bill Fair? calculated the figures by looking at how much an average Sky TV and broadband customer pays, the average mobile phone monthly contract and how much the energy price cap will affect customers on standard variable tariffs.
For mobile phone bills, it used customer examples from its website to create a monthly average bill.
All of the bills vary from person to person, depending on what their contract covers, so an average has been used as an example.
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Energy bills will be the biggest concern for many households since all of the Big Six have announced increases of 10 per cent or more since Ofgem revealed they were raising the price cap.
This will hit over 11 million customers with a total of £1.3billion in price rises.
British Gas standard variable rate customers can expect the highest rise of 10.5 per cent – the equivalent of £119 a year – while all of the other Big Six companies are increasing their costs by 10.3 per cent, an increase of £117 a year.
However, the average bill for Sky broadband and TV customers is also set to increase by 5.1 per cent – £3.50 a month – which totals an extra £42 a year.
EE, O2, Three and Vodafone are also all putting up their prices in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.
EE customers will see increases of 2.7 per cent whilst O2, Three and Vodafone customers will see a hike of 2.5 per cent.
A customer who has Sky as their broadband and TV provider, uses EE as their phone network and has their energy supplied by British Gas on an SVT can expect a substantial rise to their annual bills on 1 April after the price increases for all three companies kicks in.
Overall, they will see a hike of £14.12 per month, thanks to a £3.50 monthly increase from Sky, a 70p increase from EE and a £9.92 increase from British Gas.
Altogether, this will cost a whopping £256.19 per year – a huge increase to their current annual payments.
Other customers will also see a massive hike in their yearly statements.
A customer who has their broadband and TV supplied by Sky, has their phone contract with O2 and has their energy provided by EDF on an SVT can expect to pay an extra £13.74 a month.
This includes a £3.50 increase from Sky, a 49p monthly increase from O2 as well as a £9.75 increase from EDF, which is equal to £164.88 a year – a hefty increase.
Meanwhile, council tax, stamps, the TV licence and water bills – which we haven’t included in the tables – are also set to increase.
The average water bill will rise by £8 a year for households across the country on April 1.
Council tax is set to increase by, on average, 5 per cent, adding £80 a year to the annual bill on the same date. The hike will vary depending on what council tax band you are in.
The TV licence is also set to see a rise of £4 for a colour licence, taking the total cost to £154.50 on April 1. A black and white licence will see an increase of £1.50, bringing the yearly total to £52.
First class stamps will also rise by 3p, going up to 70p, while 2nd class ones will also go up by 3p, to 61p, from 25 March.
Totting this up, it equates to roughly £95 per year on top of the other hikes – resulting in some households seeing a £350 squeeze.
Alex Perrin, pricing expert and chief executive of Is My Bill Fair?, said: ‘With the next batch of provider price hikes coming at you from all angles in the coming months, you can’t escape the fact you’re going to have less money in your pocket.
‘Many customers have been with the same provider for many years so they’re already paying far more than others on exactly the same package.
‘More widely known as the loyalty penalty, this is something the industry is slowly being forced to address. But change isn’t going to happen overnight.
‘The best thing you can do is proactively negate the price hike. Check what you’re paying compared to other people on the same package with the same provider using Is My Bill Fair? and we can challenge them on your behalf to give you a fairer deal.’
Why prices are going up
Ofgem, the energy regulator, announced earlier this month that customers on standard variable tariffs will see the price cap increase by £117, or 10.3 per cent, to £1,254 per year.
It decided to increase the price cap in response to the rise in wholesale costs of energy and it is set to be reviewed again in October of this year.
Many of the energy companies put their prices up after the announcement to be in line with the new cap.
Although we have taken an average increase for Sky TV and broadband customers, this number could vary depending on what sort of package customers have.
Some may not see their bill go up by much at all, whereas others may see their bills go up significantly more.
Sky did not reveal why it has put its prices up but it is facing competition from Amazon Prime and Netflix, the online streaming services.
The mobile phone increases were to be expected, as each year, a number of providers increase their monthly bills in line with RPI inflation.
However, not all companies do this and this year Virgin Media, Giff Gaff and BT have not yet raised their prices.
Council tax is due to rise after local councils have been forced to impose the maximum possible tax increases of up to five per cent as funding shortfalls continue across the country.
Water bill increases are in line with Ofwat, the water regulator’s, five year plans, despite it previously criticising firms for damaging customers’ trust with poor performance and excessive executive pay.
However, Water UK said the below-inflation rate rise will mean bills have been reduced by more than five per cent in real terms between 2015 and 2020.
Stamps increased in price in the same time last year, with Royal Mail saying the increase was to ‘help ensure the sustainability of the Universal Postal Service’.
The company announced last year that more than £800million has been wiped off the stock market value after it issued a warning that profits would slow down.
According to the TV Licence company, the Government is responsible for setting the level of the licence fee, and in 2016 announced that it would rise in line with inflation for five years from 1 April 2017.
How to save money on your bills
In a campaign to stop companies profiteering, we are calling on people to take action and Check Your Bill.
We want to help our readers take three simple steps:
– Check what you are paying
– Compare this to what new customers get and rival firms’ prices
– Demand a better deal or switch
Alex has given eight tips on how you can save money on your bills:
1. Challenge your provider: You can get a better deal without switching by challenging your existing provider. If you call and haggle yourself, you could save on broadband, TV, energy, mobile and car breakdown.
2. Mid-contract? Not a problem: Being ‘in contract’ doesn’t mean you can’t get yourself a better deal. Everyone has the right to move at any time. If you do leave, you might not have to pay the equivalent of the monthly price for the remaining period.
For example, broadband companies can only charge you a lower ‘early disconnection fee’, which is regulated, and might be lower than the saving you could make by moving. Because of this, your provider might offer you an even better deal to stay.
3. Mid contract price hikes: Being ‘in contract’ for broadband or mobile goes out of the window if your price changes. When you get the letter, you should have at least a month during which you can leave without penalty.
4. Legacy products: If you’re stuck on ‘legacy products’ you may be paying for a product or service that is now obsolete. If new customers are getting a better set top box, or faster speed, or more data, then you deserve it too. Your package might now be available at a lower price.
5. Don’t rely on the energy price cap: Yes this will reduce the loyalty penalty, but there are still much better deals available.
6. Mobile phone more than two years old? If you’ve had your handset for more than 24 months then the chances are you would be better off moving to a Sim only deal.
7. Do you need your big TV package? Keep a viewing diary for a week. If the vast majority of what you watch is on free channels, or on a cheaper service like Netflix, then do you still need to be paying for that expensive package?
8. Have your circumstances changed? Did you buy breakdown cover for multiple cars but now only have one? Or does your TV package include sports channels that were only watched by a household member who has now moved out? Make sure you adjust your bills accordingly.