Following SSE’s lead, British Gas is the second major energy company to raise its prices this winter. It will increase gas and electricity prices by around 6% from 16 November, adding almost £80 a year to an average bill.
British Gas is Britain’s biggest energy supplier and this price rise will affect 8.5 million customers. The average energy bill for British Gas customers on its standard (Clear and Simple) tariff will go up from £1,193 to £1,270 a year at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: ‘These British Gas bill increases this winter will hit many families hard when millions are already struggling with the cost of living.’
‘There’s widespread mistrust of the energy giants and customers are bound to question whether they’re paying a fair price for their energy. People fed up with British Gas should vote with their feet and find a cheaper supplier. But we also want energy companies to introduce much simpler tariffs so people can spot cheaper deals at a glance.’
British Gas price rises
In August last year, British Gas increased gas prices by 18% and electricity by 16% and only reduced electricity prices by 5% this summer. This price decrease has now been negated by today’s price rises.
British Gas blames the hike on rising costs that it says are largely outside of its control. But this increase comes just months after it announced a £345 million half-year profits, representing a 23% increase in profit.
If you’re on a fixed-price energy tariff and your energy company raises its prices, you can switch without paying any exit fees.
Winter price rises
Today’s announcement follows an announcement last month by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) – which includes companies Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric – that it will increase energy prices by 9% as of Monday.
Both these announcements might set a trend for the other energy suppliers, further highlighting the lack of competition in the market. Eon has committed not to increase its prices in 2012, but it could follow in January.
Cheapest energy deal
With winter approaching, prices going up and a feeling that other suppliers may also hike their prices, now is a good time to check you’re on the best deal and consider fixing your tariff.
Use Which? Swicth, our independent price comparison site, to compare gas and electricity prices.
There are still some good-value fixed deals out there that don’t charge an exit fee. These offer peace of mind that you’ll be protected from price rises but should prices go down you would be free to switch to a cheaper deal without paying a penalty. Call Which? Switch to find out which fixed deals are cheapest for your home on 01992 822 867.