British Gas freezes prices

11th February 2017 | Residential Energy

The UK’s biggest energy supplier said it would leave standard tariffs on hold until August. This announcement is in light of its rivals announcing price increases this week. British Gas extended a freeze on energy prices as Scottish Power became its latest Big Six rival to announce an increase.

The government said it was “completely unacceptable” that some firms had raised prices. Previously, British Gas had said that it would leave prices on hold until at least March. Now, however, it has said that this will last until August. The move will affect about five million customers.

Wholesale Energy Prices

Rivals have pointed to rising wholesale energy prices as they unveiled a number of price increases. British Gas said its freeze had been made possible by the company cutting its own costs. Mark Hodges, Chief Executive of Centrica (which owns British Gas), said it would give customers on standard tariffs, “peace of mind”.

Regulator Ofgem said its recent analysis did not show a case for significant price increases and urged customers whose prices were hiked “to shop around for a better deal.” It said, “Some suppliers are competing more effectively than others to keep their prices down”.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy welcomed the British Gas price freeze. A spokesman said, “It is completely unacceptable for other suppliers to increase their prices significantly, when Ofgem said there is not case for doing so.”

Scottish Power said it was increasing its standard energy prices by an average of 7.8% from 31 March. The hike will add £86 a year to a typical dual fuel bill.

Scottish Power, owned by Spain’s Iberdrola, said electricity prices would go up by 10.8% and gas prices by 4.7%. It said 1.1 million customers – roughly a third of those signed up to the supplier – would be affected.

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