British Gas is to raise its gas and electricity prices by 7% this winter, the energy giant has announced.
Customers on a standard or variable dual fuel tariff will on average be charged an extra £1.50 a week on their bills from 10 December 2010, according to British Gas – equivalent to an extra £78 a year. Around eight million customers will be affected.
Looking for a cheaper energy tariff? Compare energy prices using Which?’s free energy switching service, Which? Switch.
British Gas price rise
British Gas managing director Phil Bentley said the company was aware that ‘rising energy prices come at a difficult time for many in Britain’, but blamed a 25% rise in wholesale gas prices since spring and network and other costs for the increase.
The energy giant won’t apply the price rise to 300,000 vulnerable customers on its ‘Essentials’ package until 1 April 2011, while its 1.6 million customers on fixed price tariffs wouldn’t be affected by the increase.
The move follows a 9% hike in gas prices announced by Scottish and Southern Energy (which operates through brands Atlantic Electric and Gas, Scottish Hydro Electric, Southern Electric and Swalec) which takes effect from 1 December. EDF Energy, meanwhile, has committed to a price freeze over the winter, until March 2011.
It’s the first time in two years that any of the so-called ‘big six’ energy companies have increased their standard prices.
What British Gas customers can do
Which? Switch, the independent energy comparison and switching service from Which?, advises consumers to shop around for the best energy deal and switch to a better value tariff before the winter price rises kick in.
According to Which? Switch’s Tom McLennan: ‘Forget the first frost or the clocks going back, it seems winter has truly arrived once energy suppliers start hiking their prices.
‘Our research shows that half of people are already worried about paying their energy bills this winter. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, but you can minimise the impact of price rises on your finances by switching to the cheapest available tariff.’
Customers switching to a dual fuel tariff with Which? Switch between 24 March and 9 September 2010 saved an annual average of £270. If you’re unsure how to switch energy company, or are switching for the first time, read our guide on switching suppliers.
Lower your gas and electricity bills
You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.
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