Eon has become the fourth of the big six energy firms to announce a jump in household bills.

Users face average hikes of 11.4% for electricity and 18.1% for gas from 13 September, it was announced today.

The rises, which will apply to all of its customers bar those on social tariffs and fixed and capped users, will see the average dual fuel bill increase by 15.2%, taking it to £1,190 per year.

Key Points

  • Gas up 18.1%
  • Electricity up 11.4%
  • Hikes come into force 13 September
  • Average bill to jump £170

According to figures from energy comparison site uSwitch.com, these increases will add around £170 a year to the average user's bill.

Scottish Power increased prices on Monday by earlier this week by 10% for electricity and 19% for gas.

British Gas will raise prices on 18 August by an average 16% for electricity and an average 18% for gas.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) prices will rise by an average 11% for electricity and an average 18% for gas on 14 September (see the Energy price rises news story).

Eon, like its rivals, blames world events forcing up wholesale prices (what suppliers pay for energy) as the reason for upping consumer prices this autumn.

According to Ofgem figures, wholesale prices have gone up by around 30% since last winter.

What should you do?

Archna Luthra, MoneySavingExpert.com consumer products analyst, says: "Everyone should urgently considering grabbing one of the last cheap fixes now. Not only does a fix give you piece of mind but it could save you up to £150, before price rises. But these cheap fixes are unlikely to last long so go now."

The cheapest fix, EDF's Fixed S@ver v2, which lasts just over a year, costs a typical £1,009 a year, based on a national average.

This compares to a typical £1,150 a year before any hikes for those on a standard tariff, showing fixing can not only give piece of mind against future rises, but can also result in a drop in costs now.

Escape lock-ins

Eon customers can escape from variable tariffs that appear to lock them in, if they'd benefit from switching.

Many gas and electricity deals come with an exit fee of up to £100 (though typically around £60) for those who leave before the term of the deal ends.

But where a supplier puts prices up, because that results in a contract change that's detrimental, rules from regulator Ofgem mean many consumers don't need to pay that penalty as long as they inform their power firm they wish to switch before the increase.

Eon confirms you must contact it before the price hike on 13 September if you wish to leave and escape a penalty.

The amnesty does not apply to those on a fixed rate deal because the price of their tariff will not rise, due to the nature of the product.

The same principle applies for British Gas and SSE customers who can also escape from variable tariffs before the rises come into effect.

However, it is now too late for Scottish Power customers.