Fixed price tariffs have been a saving grace for many people. The idea that you can lock yourself into a plan that gives you a standard bill price per month that is not affected by changes in fuel price is a comforting one to say the least.
As more and more power providers offer fixed price tariff plans, prices for consumers could be expected to get better as competition increases. However, whether or not fixed price tariffs will be cheaper in 2013 depends a lot on your current situation.
The Bad News
Basically, the cost of both electricity and gas is defined by the movement of fuel prices. In recent years, the trend in fuel prices has been a steadily upwards one, with rates increasing year on year. This is not a trend that looks likely to end.
With increasing restrictions on the use of fossil fuels, and rising worldwide costs of production, it is highly likely that fuel costs will continue to rise. Energy companies tend to announce increases in rates in the autumn, just in time to increase their income over the winter.
In 2011 all the major companies announced rate increases, in 2012 major increases were announced by two of the big companies with smaller increases announced by the others. There is no reason to suppose that 2013 will be any different. That's the bad news.
The Good News
The good news depends very much on your current situation. If you are using a fixed price tariff right now, chances are that you will still be paying the same fixed price during 2013 until your contract runs out. Several big offers from major companies do not end until 2014. In this case, you have nothing to worry about. Your fixed price is guaranteed.
However, there are a few big contracts that will end in 2013, and it's only bad news for those subscribers, unfortunately. You will not only be hit by a major increase in price once your contract ends (as is relatively normal at the end of a fixed rate tariff plan), but your chances of signing up for another similiarly priced plan are slim to none.
Many companies are restrictive about repeat customers, offering their best rates to new customers. You will almost certainly be paying a higher fixed rate tariff than your current one. One method that may alleviate this slightly would be to switch energy providers, thus taking advantage of your new customer status with another provider.
Should You Opt for a Fixed Price Tariff?
For completely new customers, those who are not on a current fixed rate plan, there are two options available. There are several offers that are available to sign now (in 2012) that will keep you paying today's prices well into 2014.
If you're not in a position to switch right now, and are thinking of signing a new contract in 2013 itself, the prices are liable to be slightly more expensive (reflecting recent changes in rates), but not significantly so.
Increased competition in the market between providers of fixed rate tariffs is keeping prices somewhat in check, but since all companies are raising their prices anyway, it's more a question of how much more you will pay rather than whether or not you will pay more.
If you find a deal that says it is ending soon, it is probably a good deal and worth taking up.