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British Gas confirms 15% price hike

Energy giant blames soaring wholesale costs

A blue flame from a gas hob

Although there is no ‘green gas’, you can still switch your energy supplier to a green tariff

British Gas owner Centrica today announced double-digit price rises for millions of its customers.

The UK’s biggest power provider said both gas and electricity bills will go up by 15%.

British Gas becomes the third big energy supplier to hike prices this year, after EDF, which upped rates for its 5.5 million customers by at least 8% earlier this week, and Npower, which increased prices for four million households by up to 17% a fortnight ago.

Wholesale costs

The British Gas price hike comes into force with immediate effect for around 13 million customers, although another 2.4 million bill-payers on fixed-term tariffs will see no increase at all.

The firm said it was also delaying the rise for 340,000 vulnerable customers until the end of the winter.

BG said wholesale energy costs had risen sharply, with gas up by 51% and electricity by 61%.

Annual bills

BG managing director Phil Bentley said the firm could not absorb the ‘burden’ of the increases.

He said: ‘As the UK’s biggest buyer of gas, we want lower gas prices.

‘However, lower availability of supplies from both the UK and the Continent, coupled with higher global oil prices, have forced up wholesale prices.

‘We can’t absorb the burden of these higher energy prices and the costs of delivering a cleaner environment.’

Switch with Which?

British Gas said the average annual bills for dual fuel customers would go up by £143 to £1,055 as a result of the increases.

For those customers paying by direct debit, the annual rise will be £131, taking annual bills to £968.

Which? runs its own impartial energy price comparison site – Switch with Which? – where you can check which supplier offers the best deal for your gas and electricity.

Users of Switch with Which? are currently enjoying average savings of £200 each year on their energy bills. The figure comes from those who used the site to switch in the 12 months to July 2007.

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