Like most energy suppliers in the UK, British Gas tariffs are subject to Ofgem's energy price cap. This cap sets the maximum price suppliers can charge for their standard variable and default tariffs - typically the most expensive tariffs on offer.
With energy wholesale prices rising significantly in the autumn of 2021, meaning that it cost energy suppliers much more to buy the energy than it previously did, Ofgem raised the energy price cap level (which caps the unit rates customers pay) to a record £1,971. Subsequently, British Gas increased the rates on its standard variable tariff from £1,277.38 to £1,970.56 - just under the cap rate.
This followed the August 2021 announcement that the price cap rate would be increasing to its highest ever level of £1,277 from October 2021. British Gas therefore announced a 12% increase to the price of its Standard Variable tariff to £1,277, which came into effect on 1 October 2021.
The British Gas price rise only affects customers on the supplier's Standard tariff, though while this was the minority, it will now apply to most people. If you're on a fixed tariff from British Gas or any other supplier, the price you pay per unit of energy will remain fixed until the plan ends - after this, you'll be automatically rolled onto a standard variable tariff.
In February 2021, Ofgem announced the price cap rate would be increasing from April 2021 to £1,138 per year. In reaction to the price cap change, British Gas announced a 9% price rise on its Standard tariff.
In August 2020, British Gas announced it would be cutting the average price of its standard variable or default tariffs by approximately 7%. This price cut came into effect in October 2020 and was in reaction to a cut in Ofgem's price cap level. The latest price change meant an average £84 price cut for customers on British Gas' default tariff, bringing the average bill to £1,041 per year.
In February 2020, British Gas announced a price drop of around 2% for customers on its standard variable tariffs, also to match the falling price cap. This brought down the average bill for these customers by £19 per year. British Gas reduced its prices to an average of £1,158 — £3 lower than the maximum allowed under the new price cap level.
In August 2019, British Gas followed the price cap by reducing the cost of its standard tariff by 6%. This brought the average bill for British Gas Standard customers to £1,177 from 1 October, when the rates came into force. This followed a price rise in February 2019, when the supplier announced a 10% price rise that came into effect 1 April 2019.
This price rise affected dual fuel customers on standard variable rate tariffs — around 3.9 million households. This made British Gas's standard tariff £324 more expensive than the cheapest energy deal currently on the market.
British Gas was the fourth of the big six energy suppliers to announce a price rise in February 2019, after Ofgem announced an increase to its energy price cap rate. The price change increased rates to match the new cap rate of £1,254, a hike of £119 for British Gas customers.
All customers on a British Gas standard variable tariff will be impacted by this price rise, and it's likely you've started to see higher bills already.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.
Following the new price cap rates being announced in February 2022, many energy suppliers raised their prices to meet the new cap level.
You can read about previous price changes from the rest of the big six below:
The energy price cap is reviewed twice a year (February and August), with new rates coming into effect in April and October. We have already seen a price rise in April 2022. At the moment it's likely that another energy price rise will be announced in August.
See more information about British Gas, including British Gas price change history, customer satisfaction reviews and where their average bill costs ranks among the big six on Uswitch's dedicated British Gas supplier page.
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