Energy bill warning as “Big Six” tariffs rise by “average 16%”

23rd November 2016 | Residential Energy

Households are being warned the best energy deals are already behind them this winter, with fixed rate deals among the “Big Six” firms surging by an average of 16% since September.

USwitch, the price comparison website, said five of the Big Six, excluding British Gas had raised the cost of their cheapest tariffs – with Eon’s one year offer rising 34%. Although British Gas has kept its price plans on hold, the report suggested they were still the most expensive out of the Big Six, at an average per household of £1,044 per annum.

The upwards shift in energy costs is put down to rising wholesale prices and this is exacerbated by the pound’s collapse against the dollar since the vote to leave the EU: raw energy is mostly priced in US Dollars. Energy Solutions pointed to a 34% increase in wholesale gas costs alone since 24 June.

The USwitch report said seven smaller suppliers had raised their standard variable prices by an average 9% since September: they also warned that further price increases were likely across the board unless wholesale prices were to start to fall.

However, this is unlikely given constraints in the UK’s energy output and storage which will be under more strain than usual, if the winter is colder than average. At the same time, oil prices are heading higher.

The Competition and Markets Authority spent two years closely examining the sector and so it’s vital that the Government gives the final package, only published in June, the proper chance to work,” said Claire Osborne from uSwitch.

She continued, “The CMA remedies should help more customers move away from expensive standard variable tariffs, lower bills and improve competition. Suppliers must also play their part by doing all they can to help their customers reduce their bills.”

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