If you’re on a standard energy tariff, it’s time to think about switching – otherwise your energy bill could be going up.

From April, industry regulator Ofgem is increasing the price cap on what energy providers are allowed to charge back to pre-pandemic levels.

The energy price cap is the maximum energy providers are allowed to charge you if you’re on their standard or default tariff – basically the tariff you’re on automatically if you haven’t taken up any special offers or if your existing deal has already expired – and is designed to be fair to consumers and energy providers.

The cap is updated on 1 April and 1 October each year (it can go up or down) and is in effect for the next six months.

From 1 April 2021, the price cap will increase by £96 to £1,138 for 11 million default tariff customers, and by £87 to £1,156 for 4 million pre-payment meter customers in response to higher wholesale energy prices.

While energy firms typically have their best deals just before the new year, you can always find better deals than the standard tariff at any time of the year so it’s always worth double checking and switching when your fixed energy deal ends.

I signed up for Money Saving Expert’s (MSE) Cheap Energy Club, which emails me when there might be a better energy deal available. But I’ve opted out of automatic switching.

Instead, I consider the offers sent to me by MSE and the deals available on comparison sites such as Uswitch and Money Supermarket. Many have exclusive energy deals, which can be cheaper.

Finally, I check whether I can get the same deal plus cashback from either Topcashback* or Quidco* to save more. Going through a cashback site can sometimes make it more expensive though, and that’s why you should shop around.