Last week, npower announced that it would increase prices by 5.3% — or £64 per year — on average for gas and electricity customers on dual fuel, variable rate tariffs. Those on gas-only tariffs will see a 4.4% increase; those on electricity-only tariffs will see a 6.2% hike.
These rate increases takes effect 17 June 2018, at which time npower will have the most expensive big six standard energy tariff.
This increase will impact around 40% of npower’s customers on the supplier’s variable rate standard tariffs — around 1 million total. In line with previous energy price hike announcements, npower has blamed increases in policy costs and rising wholesale prices.
A flurry of price rises
The news comes after several previous price rise announcements from four of the big six:
- British Gas announced a price rise of 5.5%, effective 29 May 2018
- EDF Energy announced a price rise of 1.4%, effective 7 June 2018
- ScottishPower announced a price rise of 5.5% effective 1 June 2018
- E.ON raised prices by 9% by removing discounts and raising standing charges, effective 26 April 2018.
The only big six supplier yet to announce a rise is SSE.
Customers have ‘a simple choice to make’
Claire Osborne, uSwitch.com energy expert, says: “npower has reclaimed its top spot as the most expensive big six standard tariff.
“The average £64 rise is the equivalent of almost three weeks spending on energy. npower customers who don’t want to suffer the same fate as households on British Gas, EDF, and Scottish Power standard tariffs have a simple choice to make: stay on a rip-off tariff and watch their bank balance shrink even further, or compare, switch and save up to £491. With the recent wholesale cost increases, now is the time to switch and lock in a fixed deal to protect yourself against future price rises.
“Energy suppliers haven’t been afraid to increase prices in spite of the threat of an energy price cap – perhaps because they’re confident that customers will mistakenly think a cap protects them, so they won’t switch once it’s in place.”
Do price caps play a role in the recent price rises?
Energy experts at uSwitch believe that the impending price cap has had an effect on energy costs ahead of its implementation. Suppliers seem to be rushing to hike prices before they can’t, in the hopes that customers won’t switch away, instead languishing on the worst-value tariffs.
What to do if you’re affected by npower’s price rise announcement
If you’re a variable rate tariff customer with npower, British Gas, EDF Energy or ScottishPower — including those whose fixed energy plans have expired — you should run an energy comparison to find a cheaper deal.
It takes just minutes to switch. All you need is your postcode and a recent energy bill (if you don’t have a bill handy, you can answer a couple questions about your lifestyle instead). You can move on to a fixed rate energy deal to protect yourself from future price hikes — you could save up to £491!*.
Need more help? Our handy guides walk you though everything you need to do:
*Save up to £491 on your energy bills: Between 1 April 2017 and 30 September 2017, at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity with uSwitch.com saved £491 or more