Around 3.5m British Gas customers face a second bill increase this year, after the biggest energy company said it will increase prices by another £44 in October.
This 3.8% increase brings the price of its standard variable tariff (SVT) to £1,205 per year on average. Combined with its previous increase of 5.5% on 29 May, customers on this tariff will be paying £104 more per year.
Despite the price rise, British Gas’ SVT will be the second-cheapest of the Big Six SVTs, behind SSE. That doesn’t mean it’s cheap though – keep reading to find out how much you could save by switching.
Now’s the time to compare gas and electricity prices using Which? Switch to find out if you’re paying more than you need to for energy.
British Gas customers: find out if you’re affected
The price rise affects customers on British Gas’ standard variable tariff (SVT). If you have a fixed price tariff from British Gas, or are on its Temporary Tariff, you will not be affected.
British Gas withdrew its SVT from sale to new customers on 31 March. Recently, it said that some 3.5m customers are still on this tariff.
If British Gas is going to put up your prices, it will contact you and tell you about alternative tariffs you could switch to.
Save money on energy
The cheapest British Gas tariff costs £1,103 per year for the average user, so you could save £102 per year by switching to this if you’re on it’s SVT.
But switch to the cheapest dual-fuel tariff and you could save £352 compared with British Gas’ SVT after the price rise. The cheapest tariff costs £853 per year and is from small company Eversmart Energy.
See the top five cheapest energy deals for August, including for low, medium and high energy users.
Why is British Gas raising prices again?
British Gas said its price increase was due to a 20% rise in the costs of buying wholesale energy since April.
Mark Hodges, Centrica Consumer chief executive, said: ‘We understand that any price increase adds extra pressure on customers’ household bills. However, this reflects the sharp rise in wholesale energy costs.
‘In response to rapidly rising wholesale market costs, since April a number of other energy supply companies have increased their SVT prices and Ofgem has also announced a second increase to the prepayment meter cap.’
Indeed, British Gas isn’t the only company to increase customers’ bills twice this year. EDF Energy announced its second energy price rise in July and Eon raised its prices in June after removing some of the discounts it offered customers in April.
Which? comment on the British gas price rise
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: ‘This second price rise within the space of a few months will be infuriating for customers who have now seen their bills hiked by an average of £104 in six months. They should take the power back into their own hands and radically change how much they pay, simply by choosing a better deal.
‘Before the energy price cap comes into effect later this year, customers still stuck on poor value standard tariffs should look to switch now as they could potentially save almost £400 a year.’
Our energy pricing research
Prices are based on a dual-fuel tariff available in all regions in England, Scotland and Wales paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless bills. Energy usage is based on Ofgem’s annual average usage figures for medium (12,000kWh gas and 3,100kWh electricity) users.
Data is from Energylinx. Prices given are averages across regions, are rounded to the nearest whole pound and correct on 7 August 2018.