Warning over Scottish Power charity’s energy fix with high exit charges

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  • Energy company Scottish Power has teamed up with the charity Cancer Research UK
  • Scottish Power launched cheaper energy deal than price cap
  • But the tariff could cost Britons money in the long run and carries high exit fees.

A new energy tariff from Scottish Power and the charity Cancer Research UK could cost struggling families hundreds of pounds extra a year for gas and electricity.

The energy giant has launched a one-year fixed rate called “Help Beat Cancer Flexi April 2025”.

It is the result of a partnership with Cancer Research UK and offers a price equivalent to a typical annual bill of £1,799.

The company boasts that this represents a saving of £129 compared to a current system. capped energy tariff – set by regulator Ofgem – which costs £1,928 for average use.

Burn: Scottish Power deal may not be profitable in the long run

Burn: Scottish Power deal may not be profitable in the long run

However, industry analysts Cornwall Insight predict that Ofgem’s price cap will return to the equivalent of £1,620 from April 1, before dropping back to £1,497 in July.

If these figures prove correct, anyone signing up to the Help Beat Cancer tariff could pay hundreds of pounds more for gas and electricity over the next year, compared to millions of others.

To escape the tariff, customers will have to pay a punitive exit charge of £150 per fuel, a total of £300.

Consumers and charities have warned families against signing a fixed rate deal likely to be more expensive than the lower price cap expected from the spring.

They also criticize any deal that carries high exit fees.

Fuel Poverty Action policy manager and Parliament official Jonathan Bean said: “It is shocking that ScottishPower and other energy companies are trying to lock people into inflated prices for longer.

“This is more blatant profiteering, and Ofgem must act urgently to stop people being exploited.”

He questioned Cancer Research UK’s decision to support the tariff and suggested it may not have realized the implications.

“It is unfortunate that cancer research is being used in this way.” » said Bean.

“It’s best for people to save money when prices fall from April onwards and then donate directly what they can afford.”

Simon Francis, of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, which represents a large number of charities and campaign groups, warned against signing up to a tariff with high exit fees.

He said: “No one should set a fare that has an exit fee higher than £80.”

Launching the tariff, the energy giant said: “ScottishPower has launched one of the most competitive energy tariffs on offer, at £129 below the cap price, based on a dual fuel direct debit customer typical for Ofgem, average usage. »

He highlighted the charitable link, adding: “Scottish Power is committed to its partnership with Cancer Research UK because together we have the energy to help beat cancer. »

The fine print of the deal makes it clear that the maximum donation to the charity is £10 per customer – or around 84p per month on a pro-rata basis.

A Scottish Power spokesperson defended the tariff, saying: “Launched on January 19, our fixed-term contract offers new and existing customers the opportunity to lock in their energy costs for a year at a rate 7% lower than the price ceiling, based on Ofgem. estimates of the average usage of a typical dual-fuel direct debit customer.

“Every customer has their own circumstances and we offer a range of pricing to suit the needs of different customers.

“A fixed-term tariff can help people plan their energy costs over a period of time – especially after the extreme market conditions seen over the past couple of years – while others may prefer variable or time-dependent tariffs. time of use, where prices may change depending on world prices. wholesale prices or depending on the time of day.

Caro Evans, Director of Partnerships at Cancer Research UK, said: “Scottish Power’s Help Beat Cancer energy tariff helps raise money for our vital cancer research.

“Scottish Power is donating to Cancer Research UK on behalf of customers who choose this tariff, and we are grateful to them and their customers for supporting us in this way.”

How can I determine if a fixed rate is beneficial?

To determine whether an energy contract – fixed or not – is cheaper than what you are currently paying, compare the unit rate and fixed charge with what you are currently paying.

The average home pays rates constrained by the Ofgem price cap, meaning 53p per day fixed electricity charge and 30p for gas, while unit electricity rates are 29p per kilowatt hour (kWh) and 7p /kWh for gas.

However, it is difficult to know with certainty what the effect of Ofgem’s price cap will be in the future, meaning there is a risk that households will lock in on what will later prove to be a high rate.

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