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Energy price hikes

Last week Britain’s three largest energy providers announced gas and electricity prices rises of up to 9 per cent.

British Gas, Npower and Scottish Power all announced price rises that would account for between £80 to £110 increases on household bills but have blamed the rises on increased costs.

British Gas announced that both gas and electricity would rise by 6% from 16 November, adding £80 to the average bill, while Npower will increase by 8.8% on electricity and 9.1 per cent on gas from 26 November and Scottish Power by 7 per cent from 3 December.

According to Scottish power they have had to increase costs for customers due to increased costs for transporting gas and electricity to homes.

Phil Bentley from British gas claimed that 85% of costs to customers were outside of its control, while Adam Scorer of watchdog Consumer Focus said that the price hikes during the winter months would just increase concerns about the energy market.

According to price comparison site uSwitch despite the fact that household incomes have gone up by 20 per cent since 2004, energy prices have increased 151 per cent over the same period. And it seams that nine out of 10 households are now planning on rationing their gas and electricity to counteract the price hikes.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis warned that switching to a provider that had not yet hiked prices was probably not wise yet, as energy companies are like sheep and it is likely other providers will soon follow. He advised locking into a fixed tariff as these offered no price hikes for two winters but weighing up those with exit fees against the saving.

Scottish Powers fix locks in prices until 31 March 2014. EDF’s fix is a few pounds more but locks in until 1 May 2014, both have no exit fees.

Other than switching he advised sticking, and waiting until all the big suppliers had hiked before comparing options.

EDF and Eon have pledged not to increase prices this year, but have not ruled out rises happening in the New Year.