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Martin Lewis delivers bleak message to anyone trying to switch energy suppliers


Martin Lewis delivers bleak message to anyone trying to switch energy suppliers

Money-saving champion Martin Lewis has delivered a bleak message to families who are trying to keep costs down.

As Brits are warned of a massive rise in energy bills this autumn and winter, many will be hoping they can shop around for a better deal to ease the blow.

Millions of households are facing a £139 increase due next month as the global gas crisis continues to drive market prices to new highs.

READ MORE: Martin Lewis’ urgent warning over second huge gas price rise on this date – and what to do

But while switching energy suppliers has become a regular habit for many of us, Mr Lewis says those glory days have come to a bitter end.

Asked on the new series of The Martin Lewis Money Show: Live on ITV if the days of switching were over, he said: “Probably yes, for now, and I think it’s important to remember, those who have been regular switchers you will be £2,000-£3,000 better off over the last decade compared to if you hadn’t switched.

“But certainly in the short term the switching market is decimated, price comparison sites hardly have any tariffs on them, we are in extraordinary times and there’s some very tough decisions.

“It is [over] for now, I think it will come back though.”

READ MORE: Millions face cash chaos over Universal Credit cut, energy bill hike and furlough end

Six energy suppliers have already gone bust and the money saving expert warned there would be more firms who would fall victim.

He said experts have predicted that around 25 firms will go under, adding that “there may only be 10 or less energy firms left” if prices continue to rise.

Ministers have denied being complacent over 18-month-old warnings about risks to the UK’s energy supply after 1.5 million people were left without a provider.

With 800,000 consumers losing their suppliers on Wednesday alone, two energy companies have since looked to make it more difficult for new customers to sign up for their services as they attempt to survive the current turbulence.

Bulb scrapped its popular refer-a-friend scheme as it tries to raise new cash, while rival Ovo Energy changed its website by removing an invite to “get an energy quote in under two minutes”.

It comes as Labour used an urgent question to drag Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng before MPs to face questions over the crisis.

READ MORE: Food charity’s winter warning as DWP benefit cuts bite and fuel bills rise

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband quoted a letter from energy regulator Ofgem warning of a “systemic risk to the energy supply as a whole” which had been sent 18 months ago.

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted that the details show the Government was “warned about a looming crisis and didn’t prepare”.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Miliband accused ministers of being “complacent” about the shock that rising gas prices could wreak upon the market, as well as families and the cost of living.

But Mr Kwarteng said the Conservative administration had “not been complacent” as suppliers collapsed.

The Cabinet minister said Ofgem’s concerns had been “interrogated” during the coronavirus pandemic, with the supplier of last resort programme, where consumers are automatically transferred to a new provider if their supplier exits the market, was “found to work”.

It comes as a minister in Mr Kwarteng’s department admitted the energy price cap is under “pressure” due to crippling energy prices.

But Paul Scully said it would be up to the energy watchdog to decide if the cap, which he said is saving dual-fuel energy customers around £100 per year, should rise.

The cap is currently due to next be reviewed in April.

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The business minister told Sky News the Government was “planning for the worst-case scenario” which he said was that gas prices would remain high beyond a “short spike”.

Both Mr Scully and Mr Kwarteng repeated the assertion on Thursday that the energy price cap would remain and that they did not want to bail out firms on the brink of failing.

Avro, with 580,000 domestic gas and electricity customers, became the biggest of a series of recent failures in the energy market on Wednesday, with the number of collapsed companies accounting for more than 5% of the market.

Green – which also closed on Wednesday – PFP, MoneyPlus, Utility Point and People’s Energy have all exited the supply market in just over two weeks.

HUB Energy, which had 6,000 customers, stopped trading last month.

Ofgem has said it will ensure a new supplier is appointed to take over Avro’s clients and Green’s 255,000 households.

Conservative MP Mr Scully said the regulator would ensure “continuity of supply” for any other consumers whose providers go to the wall so they can keep the lights on.

But he said the Government could give no guarantees that those being switched to new providers would not have to fork out for a higher tariff than they were paying before, admitting some people are facing a “tough” winter ahead.

His comments come only two days after his boss Mr Kwarteng said those being transferred would “be expected to pay the same amount”.

In the Commons, the Business Secretary acknowledged people living in the north of the country will be hit hardest by energy hikes due to the colder weather.

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