In a press release issued today, SSE said they would raise the average households’ bill price by 8.2% as of 15 November.
The company said the hike is a result of the rising price of purchasing wholesale gas, higher charges for using the nation’s distribution network and government-imposed levies on consumer energy bills.
Customers looking to ward off price rises should look to switch to a fixed price energy plan. The latter will not only allow customers to freeze their prices but also to determine the amount of time they want to do so – ranging from 12 months all the way to just under four years.
Will Morris, group managing director, retail, said: “We’re sorry we have to do this. We’ve done as much as we could to keep prices down, but the reality is that buying wholesale energy in global markets, delivering it to customers’ homes, and government-imposed levies collected through bills – endorsed by all the major parties – all cost more than they did last year.”
The rise will see SSE’s standard dual-fuel energy tariff rise to an average of £1,224 per year.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: “This is a crippling blow for consumers, who are still reeling from last winter’s price hike. Adding a further £111 to an already sky-high energy bill will leave consumers buckling under the pressure. This will be seen by many as the final nail in the coffin for affordable energy.
“Of course the danger now is that the other big six suppliers will follow suit. This raises the spectre of yet more households forced to cut back on their heating. Last winter almost seven in ten households went without heating at some point to keep their energy costs down, while over a third said that cutting back on energy usage was affecting their quality of life or health. This is the grim reality we face as the cost of energy spirals ever higher.
“In the first instance I would appeal to other suppliers not to blindly follow suit, but to consider the impact on their customers first. But, secondly, I would also urge consumers not to sit back and watch energy costs soar. There are two simple steps to protecting yourself from the impact of higher prices: use less energy by making your home more energy efficient, perhaps by taking advantage of the Green Deal, and pay less for the energy you do use. There is now around £350 difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy tariffs on the market – this is a substantial saving and could make the difference when it comes to keeping warm.”
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “This is clearly unwelcome news for customers of SSE. People should take the opportunity now to make sure they are on the best deal available to them.
“Half of an average energy bill is made up of the wholesale cost of energy. This far outweighs the proportion of a bill that goes to help vulnerable households with their bills and to cut energy waste, and to encourage investment in the new low-carbon energy generation we need to keep the lights on. SSE’s own figures show that wholesale price rises have contributed more than policy costs to this price increase, as a share of the bill.
“We’ve already taken action to help consumers this winter. Two million households will get as much as £200 off their bills under the Warm Home Discount. 230,000 homes will be warmer this year by getting energy efficiency measures installed under the element of the Energy Company Obligation. We’re also changing energy bills by cutting the number of tariffs, making bills simpler and clearer, and getting people off poor-value dead tariffs and on to the best deal for them.”