British Gas’ price hike a ‘bitter blow’ for consumers

British Gas’ decision to raise its gas and electricity prices is a “bitter blow” for UK consumers. That’s the view of a price comparison site responding to the 6% rise […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

British Gas’ decision to raise its gas and electricity prices is a “bitter blow” for UK consumers.

That’s the view of a price comparison site responding to the 6% rise in energy prices announced by British Gas this morning. The changes mean the average bill for domestic British Gas consumers will rise from £1,260 to as much as £1,346. The hike will come into effect on November 16th.

The news follows SSE’s recent announcement for a 9% hike in its energy bills.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com said: “This is a bitter blow for consumers and comes just ahead of winter when the impact on bills will be even more acute. With SSE’s price hike coming into effect next Monday and now Britain’s biggest supplier announcing a hike of its own, the writing is on the wall for consumers this winter – energy bills are going skywards.

“Consumers will be very disappointed – the pressure of an extra £100 or so on energy bills will leave many buckling and forced to face another winter where they are scared to turn on the heating for fear of the cost.”

She added there’s more than £300 difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy tariffs in the market and is urging consumers to switch now and save money.

Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Focus is concerned about the price hike affecting fuel poor households.

She said: “British Gas’s price rise will see average annual energy bills reaching almost £1265 for their direct debit customers and over £1346 for cash and cheque customers. This and other expected price rises will also push even more households in fuel poverty, with over six million UK households already struggling to afford their bills.”

According to the consumer group’s research, more than six million households in England already plan to cut back on their heating this winter because they are worried about expensive energy bills.

Environmental group Greenpeace suggests the Government should “stand up” to the energy supplier.

Joss Garman, Policy Advisor at the group said: “British Gas has again been forced to put up bills thanks to the ever rising cost of wholesale gas. With millions of families feeling the pain of higher global gas prices it beggars belief that George Osborne wants us to engage in a reckless new dash for more imported, expensive, polluting gas. The Government must stand up to British Gas and the gas lobby and instead stabilise bills by investing in clean, homegrown, renewable energy.”