Prepay supplier Utilita is the latest energy firm to decide to hike prices, can reveal – with almost half a million customers set to pay more from 1 April. If you're affected, check NOW if you can save by switching to a cheap fix or even a credit meter.

The price of Utilita's Smart Energy standard prepay tariff will rise by an average of 2.9% for dual fuel customers in April. Electricity prices will jump by an average 8.8%, while gas prices will fall by 2.6% on average. The average household on a dual fuel tariff will see bills rise by £30/year.

Utilita's planned hike is the latest in a raft of similar announcements. Two other smaller providers, Co-op Energy and First Utility, announced increases last week. Big six suppliers EDF, Scottish Power and Npower are also planning them, with more providers expected to follow.

While options for households are more limited if you have a prepaid gas or electricity meter, many can still switch and save. To check if you're on the best deal for you, do a full market comparison using our Cheap Energy Club.

How are Utilita customers affected?

For those on Utilita's Smart Energy standard prepay tariff, the average household dual fuel bill's likely to rise by 2.9% to a typical £1,059/year.

That's about £70/yr more than the market's cheapest – see our Cheap Prepaid Gas & Elec guide for our current top picks, and for how to check if you can switch to a credit meter, which is likely to be cheaper.

Virtually all of Utilita's 480,000 customers are on its prepay tariff. But those on its Premium Energy standard credit meter tariff – a small number of long-standing customers – will also see an increase, though we don't yet know what this will be.

The supplier says this will be its first electricity hike since December 2013, while the fall in gas prices is its sixth consecutive cut since January 2015.

Why are prices going up?

Utilita Energy's CEO Bill Bullen told us: "Government intervention is creating many problems and we are doing all we can to ensure customers do not suffer.

"Utilita's price changes are a lot less than other companies and still represent great value for our customers. The fact this is the first price increase since 2013 speaks volumes about the fact we do all we can for our customers.

"We will continue to fight to give Britain's hard-pressed families the fairest deals possible, regardless of unwanted regulation and rising wholesale costs – and that will never change."

The supplier is expected to officially announce the hikes this week, though it has already begun emailing customers with details of the increase.