EDF Energy removes Blue +Price Promise
Popular tariff pulled as supplier raises prices
EDF Energy is removing its Blue +Price Promise May 2014 plan and replacing it with a Blue +Fixed Price March 2015 plan, which will fix costs until the end of March 2015 instead of May 2014.
The price is set to rise from £1,143 to £1,251, while other cost have also been introduced, including a cancellation fee of £35 per fuel if customers change supplier before March next year and £15 per fuel if they change supplier between April 1st 2013 and March 31st 2014.
Customers will only be exempt from a charge if they change supplier after April 1st 2014.
On Friday, EDF Energy because the latest of the Big Six energy suppliers to raises its prices after announcing that its three million gas and electricity customers will see their energy outgoings rise by almost 11% before the end of the year.
From December 7th, EDF customers will pay 10.8 % more for their energy, meaning E.ON is now the only one of the Big Six energy firms yet to announce price increases, though this is widely expected to happen after Christmas when its 2013 price freeze expires.
According to EDF, the reason for the increase is a combination of significant extra costs in the use of gas and electricity networks, as well as mandatory energy efficiency and social schemes, in addition to the rising price of wholesale energy.
The price rise is greater than those of any of the other Big Six firms to increase costs in recent months, after rises of 9% by npower and 6% by British Gas.
Just a fortnight ago, Scottish Power raised its prices by up to 8.7%, while SSE increased its prices by 9% in August.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, said this is “the final hammer blow” for energy bills this side of Christmas.
“Consumers now face a winter of rationing their energy usage – many will be forced to turn their heating down or off for fear of the impact of these hikes,” she explained.
“However, we welcome EDF Energy’s support for its most vulnerable elderly customers who will automatically benefit from its cheapest prices. This could be a lifeline for many.”
The energy supplier has promised that 100,000 of its most vulnerable elderly customers will only be charged the equivalent of its cheapest tariff from this winter, easing the pressure on this demographic.
In spite of this, Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at Consumer Focus, said further price rises are likely to cause consternation among customers.
“Another price rise, hot on the heel of those we have already seen, will again feed into consumer concerns on pack behaviour and whether price changes are driven by real supply and demand issues,” she said.
“Energy companies obviously need to react to wholesale and other pricing pressures, but customers need to know the scale of changes is justified.”
The announcement comes at the end of Big Energy Saving Week, a UK-wide initiative aiming to help people lower their energy bills.
Elizabeth Ziga from Fuel Poverty Action, which has organised a protest against rising energy bills at London’s Westfield Stratford shopping centre, said the increases are the last straw.
She added: “People are fed up with our energy being produced to line the pockets of the ‘Big Six’ while we’re left to suffer mammoth fuel bills and escalating climate change. Saturday’s protest, led by pensioners, will be the first of many. Expect a winter of resistance.”
The government, which last week prematurely announced legislation to combat energy bill increases by forcing suppliers to offer consumers the lowest possible tariffs, described the latest price rises as “very disappointing”.
“It is up to energy suppliers to explain their prices to their customers. While we can’t control world energy prices, we have been working very closely with the energy companies to make it easier for people to switch to find cheaper deals,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
“We want to ensure customers get the lowest tariffs. That is why we are going to use the law to help people get the best deals.”