Beat British Gas price hikes
Customers with British Gas will face bill hikes of 7% from 10 December the company has announced.
Around 8 million customers will be affected by the increase in standard and variable tariffs, which hits just before Christmas, with the price increases adding an average £53 to annual gas bills and £29 to electricity bills.
British Gas customers on a standard dual fuel plan will see a combined hike of £82 push their total bill from £1,157 to £1,239, according to consumer price comparison service uSwitch.com.
The energy company said rising wholesale prices had forced it to increase its prices, but added that fixed-price customers and 300,000 vulnerable customers on the firm's 'Essentials' tariff would not be affected until the end of winter.
Last month Britain's second-largest energy supplier, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), said it was increasing its gas prices by 9.4% or £67 from 1 December.
There is now a fear among consumer watchdogs that an across the board energy price increase could be on the cards. But EDF Energy has already reassured its customers that it will freeze its standard tariffs until March 2011.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “The spectre of inflation-busting energy price hikes is back with a bang. After a two year lull household energy prices are about to resume their steady climb upwards again.
"Unfortunately for consumers, the 8% or £99 reduction seen over the last two years failed miserably to reverse the impact of the 42% or £381 increase seen in 2008.
She urged consumers not to be complacent and to act now to cut their energy bills by switching.
The difference between the cheapest and most expensive standard energy plans is £422 – a saving that could make a real difference for those who are worried or struggling with bills.
Find out how to switch energy supplier here.
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).