Experts are urging consumers to switch energy suppliers now before the cold weather kicks in - and save themselves vital cash.
Last year, half of British households turned their heating on around October 13 - known as the ‘Big Switch On’.
So with just five weeks to go, residents are urged to switch suppliers to make sure they are on the best deal.
According to current research, consumers could save up to £205 in time for the return of the cold weather, by shopping around.
For cash-strapped families, the savings could prove vital as rising fuel poverty means many struggle with even turning the heating on.
Leeds City Council last year estimated one in five households could be classed as living in fuel poverty.
And recent heartbreaking figures published in the YEP showed nearly four in 10 single pensioner households are spiralling into a cycle of fuel poverty.
The stark warning yesterday from consumer experts was households could face bill increases of over £200 if they do not switch now.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket.com, said: “Between now and when we start to flick on the heating, a number of cheap fixed rate energy tariffs expire, leaving customers facing a potential bill shock.
“For example, customers of M&S Energy’s Fix & Save September 2014 product will face a hike of £205 for the next year if they don’t switch by 30th September. Given the switching process still takes around six weeks to complete, people need to act now to avoid higher bills and save money once colder weather hits.
“The current cheapest tariff available is Extra Energy Fresh Fixed which costs on average £991 and is fixed until October 2015. However, this does come with an exit fee of £25 per fuel if you switch to a cheaper tariff before the end date. Households would have more freedom to switch if they choose a tariff with no exit fee such as Scottish Power Online Fixed Price Energy October 2015 which has an average bill of £1,048. Even those who have never switched can stand to save up to £125 on average by taking just five minutes to compare energy deals.
“There are other ways households can be proactive in cutting their energy bills. As well as switching to the best deal, making simple changes around the home to cut consumption can result in significant savings over the year. As we’re moving towards the colder and darker autumn and winter seasons, energy use naturally increases and some people may find that this quickly becomes unaffordable, so now really is the time fight back against rising bills.”