British Gas, the country’s largest gas and electricity supplier, is the second of the big six to raise its prices this winter. The company is following in the footsteps of rival SSE, which raised prices by 8.2% last week.
The British Gas increase will see the average household’s dual fuel energy bill rise from £1,340 to £1,471 per year.
News of the price rise will not be welcomed, particularly as the UK prepares to face a bitterly cold winter.
Average household energy bills:
|Supplier||January 2004||Pre-price rise bill size||New bill size*|
Based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas on a standard dual fuel tariff, paying quarterly by cash and cheque, with bill sizes averaged across all regions. *This doesn’t factor in any potential reduction as a result of a future Government announcement regarding levies on energy bills.** E.ON hasn’t announced a price increase.
Green subsidies could be cut
In response to growing concerns over the cost of energy, the government has stated that it will look into the possibility of cutting green subsidies.
Energy supplier EDF responded to speculation by increasing its prices by 3.9% – less than half of the rest of the big six. The French supplier said it may need to revise the increase should the government not cut green subsidies.
Speaking on the issue, a spokesperson for British Gas said: “Energy suppliers and politicians both have a role to play in helping to minimise the impact of higher costs on bills and improving transparency to restore trust in the industry.”
‘Sky-high prices will leave many turning off their heating completely’
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: “With winter’s first big freeze about to bite, this latest round of price hikes will leave many households worried about the cost of heating their home. Warmth is a basic necessity, yet sky-high prices will leave many families cutting back or turning off their heating completely. This will have a knock-on effect on health and well-being – quality of life will suffer for the very many who will be going cold.
“I would urge the Government to let consumers know as soon as possible whether they can expect a reduction to their bills any time soon and to also make it crystal clear that this will be applied to all tariffs across the board. This will provide some much-needed clarity and enable consumers to continue to shop around with confidence.
“With the high cost of energy this winter it’s vital that consumers take their own steps to cut their costs immediately. Firstly they should stop paying over the odds and switch to the most competitive deal for their needs. Secondly, they should look to make their homes more energy efficient as this will allow them to reduce the amount of energy they use without having to compromise on staying warm. Anything the Government delivers over and above is just the icing on the cake.”