Co-operative Energy has said it will increase electricity prices by 5.6%, about £27 per year. Gas prices are unaffected.
The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, particularly as rival independent suppliers, including First Utility and Ovo Energy, recently lowered their prices.
The hike will push dual fuel bills up to £1,239 for cash customers and £1,176 for those who pay by direct debit. As a result, Co-operative Energy’s standard tariff costs 18% more than the cheapest plan on the market.
DECC: Co-op needs to explain figures
Ramsay Dunning, the supplier’s general manager at Co-operative told the Telegraph: “We are not increasing prices to reward financial investors. We are simply no longer able to absorb these government-imposed costs.”
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) responded to by saying: “If [Co-operative Energy] are going to say ‘this is all down to government-imposed costs’, they need to come out and explain how they have arrived at the figure they have.”
‘A bitter pill to swallow for long-suffering consumers’
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch, said: “Just when we thought that small suppliers were coming to the rescue, Co-op has dealt this blow to consumers. This comes completely out of the blue at a time when some suppliers are doing all they can to make energy more affordable. After a winter of rationing heating and hot water to cope with rising bills, this could be a bitter pill to swallow for long-suffering consumers.
“It’s our hope that this news does not stop people from considering a move away from the big six to a smaller supplier – many of whom offer both good value and excellent customer service. It’s now vital that consumers are supported by an education programme to help them understand all the choices available to them on the market, to give them the confidence to shop around for the best deal.”