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£7.3bn cost if you stick with Big Six

HOUSEHOLDS have forked out an extra £7.3billion over the last five years by remaining loyal to the Big Six energy firms, a report shows.

Families who stayed with British Gas, SSE, E.ON, Npower, EDF and Scottish Power for at least five years paid out an average £853 more than they needed to over the period, according to Ofgem data compiled by energy provider Bulb.

While Big Six firms tend to offer cheaper fixed tariffs to ‘entice’ new customers, those tariffs tend to expire within one to two years, the report explained.

At that point customers are usually transferred to standard variable tariffs, which cost up to 30 per cent more than their original plan.

Bulb co-founder Hayden Wood said: ‘Loyalty towards a brand is often rewarded, yet households who have put their trust for years in a single energy company are being forced to subsidise others who switch every 12 months.’

A recent poll by uSwitch found a third of Britons are concerned about paying their energy bills this winter and more than half are struggling with their household finances.

British Gas became the latest big supplier to raise prices this month, with electricity set to go up by 12.5 per cent for 3.1million customers, despite falling wholesale prices.