British Gas price hike – backlash from MPs and campaigners

11th April 2018 | Residential Energy

Cash-strapped consumers have been dealt a fresh blow after the owner of Scottish Gas has announced a 5.5 per cent, or £60 a year hike in energy bills. British Gas, the UK’s largest energy supplier, is to increase energy bills for 4.1 million dual fuel customers on its standard variable tariff (SVT) from 29 May blaming rising wholesale energy and Government policy costs.

Energy minister, Claire Perry, has branded the increase as “unjustified”.

Meanwhile Ofgem, describing the move as “unwelcome” says householders should shop around for their fuel. The price of British Gas’s SVT will rise to £1,161 a year for a typical dual fuel customer, the company’s owner, Centrica, said. British Gas cited increased wholesale gas and electricity costs and the price of Tory policies as being behind its latest hike. It blamed initiatives such as the smart meter roll-out and schemes to reduce carbon emissions and argued that the funding of “all Government policy costs should be paid for in a fairer way such as through general taxation.”

SVTs, where the price varies from month to month, are the usually the most expensive plans offered by energy providers. British Gas announced plans in November to scrap SCTs for new customers ahead of Government plans to impose a price cap on costly energy products, which Centrica warned could have “unintended consequences” for the market.

British Gas said its SVT “default tariff” was withdrawn for new customers last month and all existing customers are being “contacted to encourage them to choose one of our fixed-term deals”.
The price hike will not hit the 3.7 million customers who are on fixed-term contracts, prepayment meters or classed as vulnerable.

Mark Hodges, chief executive of Centrica Consumer, said, “We fully understand that any price increase adds extra pressure on customers’ household bills. This increase we are announcing today is reflective of the costs we are seeing which are beyond our control.

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