Rising bills ‘heap pressure’ on consumers

Price hikes are heaping pressure on consumers and could add more than £100 to gas bills claims a consumer watchdog, as half of the Big Six has now upped prices.Today […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Price hikes are heaping pressure on consumers and could add more than £100 to gas bills claims a consumer watchdog, as half of the Big Six has now upped prices.Today Scottish Southern and Energy (SSE) followed the recent example of British Gas and Scottish Power by bumping up their prices, to 18 per cent for gas and 11 per cent for electricity.

Consumer Focus estimates that once these companies price rises take effect, the average gas bills for their customers will be at least £100 more per year. For electricity, the price will go up to between £44 (Scottish Power) and £64 (British Gas), with SSE’s average electricity cost hovering at £47.

The figures are based on monthly direct debit customers, with the difference in price even steeper for people who pay by cash or cheque, or with a pre-payment meter.

Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of Consumer Focus said: “Knowing another price rise was round the corner will not soften its impact for customers. This increase heaps more pressure onto already cash-strapped consumers and will tip many thousands more people into fuel poverty.

The Big Six providers who have so far put up their prices blame escalating wholesale costs for their need to put up prices.

Scottish Power’s new prices will apply from 1 August, British Gas will start from 18 August, and 14 September marks the new price date for SSE.