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British gas price rise – bills to go up 6%

British Gas will raise its prices by 6% on average.

British Gas will raise its prices by 6% on average just before winter hits, taking the average dual fuel customer bill to £1,336 a year.

Britian’s biggest supplier British Gas have announced a 6% price rise that will push up the average dual-fuel British Gas bill by £60 a year. The move follows a similar announcement by SSE, the second biggest supplier, to increase its prices by 9%.

British Gas blamed ‘ rising costs that are largely outside our control’, but with a range of fixed plans available households are being urged to secure a fixed rate before the price rises kick in on the 16th of November.

What’s happening?

•  British Gas is to put its prices up by 6% or £76 for gas and electricity with effect from 16th November
•  Average household bill for a dual fuel British Gas customer will now go up from £1,260 to £1,336 a year
•  British Gas increased its prices in December 2010 and August 2011 by 24.9% or £256 in total – it cut them by 2% or £26 in January this year
•  SSE’s price increase comes into effect next Monday (15th October) – only E.ON has guaranteed to hold its prices for the rest of this year.

The announcement follows recent speculation in the media that a price rise was imminent following SSE’s shock announcement that they would increase their prices by 9% on average.

E.ON had previously promised not to increase its prices in 2012, with many concluding a price rise was therefore likely in early 2013. Small supplier OVO Energy made a similar announcement.

How are they justifying the hike?

British Gas Managing Director, Phil Bentley, said: “We know that household budgets are under pressure and this £1.50 per week rise will be unwelcome.  However, we simply cannot ignore the rising costs that are largely outside our control, but which make up most of the bill.

“Britain’s North Sea gas supplies are running out, and British Gas has to pay the going rate for gas in a competitive global marketplace.

“Furthermore, the investment needed to maintain and upgrade the national grid to deliver energy to our customers’ homes, and the costs of the Government’s policies for a clean, energy efficient Britain are all going up.

“We need an energy efficiency culture in Britain today; rising prices don’t have to mean rising bills.  We are offering a huge amount of help to customers to help them cut the amount of energy they use and keep their bills under control.

“We’re also spending more than any other energy company on people who need the most help.”

What should you do? 

Consider fixing. Some of the most competitive plans are also fixed price and don’t carry an exit penalty, so you can protect yourself from price hikes over the next couple of winters, but be free to move on should a better deal come onto the market.

Below is a table of fixed plans currently available, with the date the plan is fixed to and whether it has any cancellation fees.

Average bill size will give you an indication of the average cost of the plans currently available, but this will vary according to how much energy you use and the size of your property.

These figures are based on a medium user profile consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas a year paying by monthly direct debit (averaged across all regions).

Supplier Plan name Date prices are fixed to Average Bill Size (£) Additional Info
First utility iSave Fixed v4 31.03.2014 £1,087 An early termination fee will apply at £30 per fuel
OVO Energy New Energy Fixed 12 months from going live £1,088 Cancellation fee of £60 if you leave before 12 months
E.ON Age UK Energy Fixed 1 Year* 1 year from sign-up £1,138 No cancellation fee
OVO Energy Green Energy Fixed 12 months from going live £1,139 Cancellation fee of £60 will apply if you leave before 12 months
Scottish Power Online Fixed Price Energy April 2014 31.03.2014 £1,140 No cancellation fee
EDF Energy Blue +Price Promise May 2014 31.05.2014 £1,143 No cancellation fee
E.ON E.ON Energy Fixed 1 Year** 1 year from sign-up £1,148 £5 Per Fuel Cancellation fee
npower Go-Fix January 2014 31.01.2014 £1,160 £30 cancellation fee per fuel if cancelled before end date
Scottish Power Fixed Price Energy November 2014 31.10.2014 £1,169 Cancellation charges of £30.64 for electricity and £20.42 for gas
npower Winter Fix 31.03.2013 £1,188 £20 cancellation fee per fuel if cancelled before end date.
M&S Energy M&S Energy Fixed Price 2 28.02.2014 £1,200 Cancellation fee of £50 if cancelled before end date
E.ON E.ON Energy Fixed 2 Year** 2 years from sign-up £1,207 £10 Per Fuel Cancellation fee
British Gas Fixed Price May 2014 31.05.2014 £1,299 £50 per fuel cancellation fee per fuel

What we say

Responding to the announcement, Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said:

“This is a bitter blow for consumers and comes just ahead of winter when the impact on bills will be even more acute.

“With SSE’s price hike coming into effect next Monday and now Britain’s biggest supplier announcing a hike of its own, the writing is on the wall for consumers this winter – energy bills are going skywards.

“Consumers will be bitterly disappointed – the pressure of an extra £100 or so on energy bills will leave many buckling and forced to face another winter where they are scared to turn on the heating for fear of the cost.

“Consumers cannot afford to sit back. There’s more than £300 difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy tariffs on the market – this is like shaving a quarter off your annual bill.

What’s the size of the average energy bill now?

How much is energy in the UK now that two of the biggest suppliers have put their prices up? Which is the biggest on average?

Average household energy bills:

Supplier Current bill size New bill size
British Gas £1,260 £1,336
EDF Energy £1,202 £1,202
E.ON £1,260 £1,260
npower £1,244 £1,244
Scottish Power £1,349 £1,349
SSE £1,235 £1,354
£1,258 £1,291
Source: Based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas with bill sizes averaged across all regions.


Learn more

Fixed price energy – Read our guide on fixed price energy to learn whether it’s the right choice for you.

Cheapest gas and electricity – See what the cheapest tariffs currently available are.

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