UK households will be collectively paying £736 million more this year for their energy, as seven major suppliers — E.ON, ScottishPower, npower, EDF Energy, First Utility, The Co-operative Energy and now SSE — have announced they will be raising prices for standard plan customers.
SSE is the latest supplier to announce their price hike of 14.9% for electricity (gas rates will not change), for an average rise of 6.9% for dual fuel, variable rate customers — effectively adding £73 to their bills.
The increase takes effect 28 April, and is a major blow to UK energy customers; the provider is the second-largest supplier of UK households, with nearly 3 million of its customers on plans that will be affected by this price hike.
SSE stated that this rise "reflects the increasing cost of supplying electricity," and that these costs are "levied predominantly against electricity customers."
SSE also noted that it will establish a £5 million fund to help provide financial assistance to "minimise the impact on vulnerable customers."
Meanwhile, npower standard plan customers will see the impact of the supplier's price rise of 9.8% this week, which will add an extra £109 on average to their annual bills.
Later this month, ScottishPower standard customers will be hit with a 7.8% increase, while EDF Energy standard customers have already had their electricity bills increased earlier this month.
Commenting on the news, Claire Osborne, energy expert at Uswitch.com, says:
"The big six have laid their cards on the table and they are stacked against energy customers. This price rise is a double whammy – not only is SSE the second largest energy supplier but it also has the highest proportion of customers sitting on its standard variable tariff. Almost three million customers will be hit by this latest blow.
"The danger now is that talk of Government intervention will lull consumers into a false sense of security when they should be voting with their feet and getting themselves a cheaper deal today. A cap on an expensive tariff would be far from a silver bullet, and in reality would likely make things worse. It would remove any motivation whatsoever for these major suppliers to try to retain their customers, whether by offering the lowest possible prices or exceptional service.
“Suppliers need to feel the pressure of competition - the real threat of their customers leaving them - to have any incentive to offer good value. We urge consumers not to put up with these hikes but to fight back. There is an incredible saving of up to £618 a year to be made by switching to a fixed deal. Fixing your energy can be extremely valuable for those on a tight budget and could make all the difference in being able to afford to keep warm.”