npower follows British Gas and announces price rises of 8.8% for gas and 9.1% for electricity from Monday 26th November.
The move means npower customers will see the average dual-fuel bill go up by £112. The announcement follows the news earlier today that fellow ‘Big Six’ supplier British Gas will also put up its prices by 6% on average. In a press release npower cited ‘…the increasing costs of delivering government energy efficiency schemes, higher distribution charges and increased wholesale energy costs.’ The price rise means three of the ‘Big Six’ have announced price rises before winter. Only E.ON confirmed they would not be increasing their prices in 2012. ScottishPower and EDF Energy have not yet made their move. The move is likely to come as very bad news for thousands of customers already struggling with their energy bills – and just before a winter predicted to be particularly cold.
‘Never a good time’
Paul Massara, chief commercial officer for npower said: “There is never a good time to increase energy bills, particularly when so many people are working hard to make ends meet. But the costs of new statutory schemes, increases in distribution charges and the price of gas for the coming winter are all being driven up by external factors, for example government policy. “Although we have managed to smooth out the worst fluctuations and protect our customers for as long as we can, we are now having to pass on some of these costs.” “We support moves to reduce CO2emissions but new government schemes will mean that energy bills will rise. “We must make sure that they provide value for money and that people understand how they will be affected. We understand the impact of rising prices and we are committed to helping customers reduce the energy they use and choosing the best tariff for their needs.”
– npower is to put its prices up by 8.8% for gas and 9.1% for electricity on 26th November – Average household bills for a dual fuel npower customer will now go up from £1,244 to £1,356a year – £112 more – Average annual household energy bill has rocketed from £522 in 2004 to a record high of £1,310 by the end of this year – a 151% increase – SSE’s price increase comes into effect next Monday (15th October) – now npower and British Gas are following suit – only E.ON has guaranteed to hold its prices for the rest of this year.
What we say
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, says: “With SSE’s hike coming into effect on Monday and both British Gas and npower announcing today, consumers are heading into a winter of discontent.
“The upshot of this triple whammy is that we can expect to be paying a record amount for our energy – the average household energy bill has never been so high and consumers will be demanding to know why.
“This is a frightening prospect – last winter over eight in ten households were rationing their energy over fear of the cost. And now the pressure of an extra £100 or so on energy bills will leave many more buckling. As we head into another winter, the potential impact on health and well-being is immense. “Consumers cannot afford to sit back. There’s more than £300 difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy tariffs on the market.“There are some competitive plans that 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. Given today’s news, I would urge consumers to switch now to get the benefit on their winter bills.”
Average household energy bills:
|Supplier||Current bill size||New bill size|
Source: uSwitch.com Based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas with bill sizes averaged across all regions.
What can you do?
uSwitch is advising customers of suppliers putting up their prices to get a fixed price tariff. Fixed price gas and electricity tariffs offer you the reassurance that the cost of your energy will not go up. Depending on the tariff, your prices could be fixed for anywhere between a year and four years. 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 gives an indication of average cost of plans available, but this will vary according to usage. 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|
|iSave Fixed v4||31.03.2014||£1,087||An early termination fee will apply at £30 per fuel|
|New Energy Fixed||12 months from going live||£1,088||Cancellation fee of £60 if you leave before 12 months|
|Age UK Energy Fixed 1 Year*||1 year from sign-up||£1,138||No cancellation fee|
|Green Energy Fixed||12 months from going live||£1,139||Cancellation fee of £60 will apply if you leave before 12 months|
|Online Fixed Price Energy April 2014||31.03.2014||£1,140||No cancellation fee|
|Blue +Price Promise May 2014||31.05.2014||£1,143||No cancellation fee|
|E.ON Energy Fixed 1 Year**||1 year from sign-up||£1,148||£5 Per Fuel Cancellation fee|
|Go-Fix January 2014||31.01.2014||£1,160||£30 cancellation fee per fuel if cancelled before end date|
|Fixed Price Energy November 2014||31.10.2014||£1,169||Cancellation charges of £30.64 for electricity and £20.42 for gas|
|Winter Fix||31.03.2013||£1,188||£20 cancellation fee per fuel if cancelled before end date.|
|M&S Energy Fixed Price 2||28.02.2014||£1,200||Cancellation fee of £50 if cancelled before end date|
|E.ON Energy Fixed 2 Year**||2 years from sign-up||£1,207||£10 Per Fuel Cancellation fee|
|Fixed Price May 2014||31.05.2014||£1,299||£50 per fuel cancellation fee per fuel|