As of April 2017, seven major suppliers have announced energy price rises - some as much as a 10% increase. Find out if you're impacted, by how much and — more importantly – what you can do about it
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See which energy suppliers have made gas and electricity prices rises or price cuts, how much prices went up or down by, and when the price change will come into effect.
And don't forget, whether gas and electricity prices are rising or falling, it's always a good idea to compare energy prices in your area. When you switch your energy supplier with uSwitch you could save hundreds.
We update our comparison rates with new prices daily (sometimes hourly!), so you can be sure that you're getting accurate results when you do a comparison.
2017 gas and electricity price rises
The following major energy suppliers have announced they will or already have raised prices for their customers:
Meanwhile, many smaller suppliers including Octopus, Ecotricity, Bulb and Flow Energy, announced price rises ranging from 2.9% to 15%.
What can I do if my energy supplier raises prices?
Whether or not your energy supplier has recently put up prices, it's always a good idea to run an energy comparison to see if you're still on the best deal.
I've never switched energy before - how does it work?
It's easier than you think to switch energy supplier, we promise.
Here's what you need to hand:
- Your postocde
- A recent energy bill
- Your bank information (to set up your direct debit)
That's it! uSwitch does all the rest, including comparing top deals in your area, and providing savings figures, customer ratings, and the ability to filter by preferences including green plans and more.
If you want a little more assistance, call one our energy switching experts on 0800 6888 244
For step-by-step instructions on how to switch energy suppliers after a price rise, read our dedicated guide. How to switch your supplier for gas and electricity.
What causes energy prices to rise?
There are several theories on what factors impact suppliers' gas and electricity prices, and all of them have some element of truth but they’re not the underlying causes.
Market forces can cause the wholesale price of gas to go up, which then means energy customers are charged a higher bill, but this doesn’t explain the whole story.
So what is the cause of gas and electricity price rises?
Gas is pumped out of the ground and electricity is mostly generated using a mix of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. These are all natural supplies, which are costly to get hold of, and more importantly, in limited supply.
Despite there being a limited supply of fossil fuels, the technology to find and extract them has advanced significantly and has meant that there is no shortage of gas and electricity.
The limited supply of fossil fuels could impact prices if the gas and electricity companies were looking very far ahead into the future, but in the short-to-medium term, supply should not be a factor.
Wars in oil-rich countries and conflicts between countries over gas pipelines can impact wholesale prices. For example, wholesale gas prices in the UK have spiked when supplies in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria have been threatened in recent years.
For the most part, these spikes have been temporary, and the supply of gas and electricity has remained constant in the UK throughout these conflicts, so it isn’t the ultimate factor.
UK Energy providers
There are some arguments that energy providers could afford to keep prices low but instead choose to maximise profits by raising prices. However, the industry regulator Ofgem aims to provide transparency in the way the sector prices its gas and electricity. Ofgem also aims to keep the market competitive to ensure that consumers get the fairest price possible.
You can go to the Ofgem website to see how much profit suppliers made each year.
To some degree all of the above arguments could have some impact on your energy prices, but consumers are able to take back control by switching. By comparing energy prices you can switch to a cheaper provider and ensure that energy gas and electricity suppliers have to stay competitive to retain their customers.
What makes energy cheaper?
Quite simply: competition. Energy suppliers need your custom to be profitable. If their customers leave because there's a cheaper energy provider or one with better service, then they lose out.
Comparing energy prices and switching your energy provider is one of the easiest ways of getting cheaper gas and electricity bills. Suppliers are always trying to win customers from their competitors by offering cheap deals.
However, gas and electricity prices do have a tendency to rise, so it's important to keep comparing the market.
Will gas and electricity prices rise in 2018?
According to Ofgem there was an increase to suppliers' costs in 2017. This means that this could be passed down to customers in their energy bills and we could see gas and electricity prices rise in 2018.
Energy suppliers are always looking to make a profit but many will want to avoid the bad publicity of raising their prices first. However, what happens is that when one supplier announces a price rise, others are likely to follow shortly after.
It's a good idea to compare prices from energy providers and see if you can switch to a cheaper energy deal before any price rises happen.
Are gas and electricity prices regulated?
In the UK, gas and electricity prices are not regulated, and are set by the suppliers directly.
The industry as a whole is regulated by Ofgem, which seeks to give consumers a better understanding of the suppliers' costs and make sure there are competitive pricing options for all kinds of customers.
Essentially, the way the UK's energy market works is that suppliers compete on price and service to win customers. Energy providers will set their prices based on its ability to cover their own costs and to make a profit. But inevitably there will be pressure to keep prices and costs down in order to avoid losing customers to their rivals.
Ofgem does not regulate or predict the prices set by suppliers.
Energy price caps
Since April 2017 there has been a price cap in place to protect around four million customers with non-smart prepayment meters. This safeguard tariff is updated every six months by Ofgem. Read the latest gas and electricity news to find out about government policy and market trends that could impact the cost of your energy bills.
Warm Home Discount
Some customers are eligible for the Warm Home Discount, which offers a rebate on your energy bills. You can learn more about which energy suppliers in the UK offer the Warm Home Discount here.