To date in 2023, British Gas's energy prices have actually gone down rather than up.
Like most energy suppliers in the UK, British Gas standard variable tariffs have been subject to Ofgem's energy price cap since its introduction at the beginning of 2019. This cap sets the maximum price suppliers can charge for their standard variable tariffs, which are typically the most expensive tariffs on offer. It does this by monitoring wholesale energy prices, which dictate the cost for suppliers to buy energy, and caps the amount they can then charge for it via unit rates. Fixed deals have historically been cheaper than standard variable tariffs, so most customers have regularly switched and fixed. British Gas has tended to price its standard variable tariff at around the level of the price cap since its introduction.
For most of the cap's lifetime, its level didn't change significantly in either direction as wholesale energy prices remained fairly stable. However, in the autumn of 2021, prices rocketed, and ultimately so did the level of the price cap.
Over time, customers' fixed deals ended but because suppliers weren't offering new fixes to switch to, they were rolling on to the standard variable tariff, which was becoming prohibitively expensive. As of May 2023, there are over 25 million households stuck on standard variable tariffs. The government therefore introduced the Energy Price Guarantee, which effectively worked as a proxy price cap set at £2,500 per year for average use households paying by direct debit. Now, though, the price cap has been set at £2,074, so the Energy Price Guarantee will move back (while still running in the background at a higher level of £3,000) and the price cap will set the unit rates of standard variable tariffs again.
The table below shows how the price cap and Energy Price Guarantee have defined British Gas's standard variable tariff prices over the years.
|Time period||Price cap level||Energy Price Guarantee level||British Gas standard variable price|
|April 2019 - October 2019||£1,254||N/A||£1,254|
|October 2019 - April 2020||£1,179||N/A||£1,177|
|April 2020 - October 2020||£1,162||N/A||£1,158|
|October 2020 - April 2021||£1,042||N/A||£1,041|
|April 2021 - October 2021||£1,138||N/A||£1,138|
|October 2021 - April 2022||£1,277||N/A||£1,277|
|April 2022 - October 2022||£1,971||N/A||£1,971|
|October 2022 - January 2023||£3,549||£2,500||N/A (SVT capped at £2,500 under EPG)|
|January 2023 - April 2023||£4,279||£2,500||N/A (SVT capped at £2,500 under EPG)|
|April 2023 - July 2023||£3,280||£2,500||N/A (SVT capped at £2,500 under EPG)|
|July 2023 - October 2023||£2,074||£3,000||TBC|
Highlighted rows denote the periods where the Energy Price Guarantee was subsidising customers' energy bills.
All customers on a British Gas standard variable tariff will be impacted by price rises or drops.
If you're on a fixed deal from British Gas, your rates will remain fixed for the remainder of the contract. But remember that you'll automatically be rolled onto a standard variable tariff when your fixed deal ends. Unfortunately, there isn't much chance of finding a cheaper deal than the price cap level with wholesale prices as high as they are.
Energy suppliers' prices are currently capped by the Energy Price Guarantee until July 2023.
You can read about previous price changes from other suppliers below:
The energy price cap is reviewed four times a year in February, May, August and October, so there is time for prices to go up. They're due to come down from July, but at the moment they're predicted to rise again slightly in the autumn and winter.
Find out about British Gas, including British Gas customer satisfaction reviews, on Uswitch's dedicated British Gas supplier page.