By Kate Brown
British Gas have announced a 5.5% rise in energy prices for customers on default deals. Over 4 million of its customers are estimated to be affected by the changes made by British Gas. The increase will apply to both gas and electric and will see the average standard variable dual-fuel bill for customers rise to £1,161. Customers who pay bills via cash or cheque will see an average annual price rise of nearly £85. Those who live in different areas of the country will face different price rises, with West Midlands and Southern Scotland customers facing the largest increase. The change is due to take place on 29 May 2018, following the 12.5% rise in electricity prices in September 2017.
Whilst British Gas argues the rise in prices are due to factors out of their control such as wholesale costs, the increase has been branded “unjustified” by the government. Claire Perry, energy minister, said: “we are disappointed by British Gas’s announcement of an unjustified price rise in its default tariff when customers are already paying more than they need to”.
Head of research for switching service ‘Look After My Bills’, Ed Molyneux, said: “the data is clear, there is simply no justification for price hikes now, especially when British Gas put their prices up last year. Costs are still under the peak that triggered the first round price rises last year”.
A spokesman for regulator Ofgem said: “we encourage British Gas customers affected by the price rise announced today to see if they can save money by switching to a better deal as savings of up to almost £300 are available”.
British Gas has also scrapped standard variable tariffs for new customers following similar moves by energy companies E.On and Scottish Power.