Scottish Power customers will be hit with average prices hikes of 7.8% the supplier has today announced. In contrast, British Gas reveals an extension to its energy price freeze.
From 31 March, 1.1 million Scottish Power customers on its standard variable tariff (pre-payment customers are not affected) will see electricity prices rise by an average of 10.8% while gas prices will go up by 4.7% on average.
This means the average dual fuel bill will rise from £1,081 to £1,167 a year – an £86 annual increase, according to comparison website uSwitch.
- Check if you can switch and save using Moneywise’s energy comparison tool
The move sees Scottish Power become the third of the big six providers to announce price hikes following Npower, which has announced average hikes of 10% from 16 March, and EDF, which cut gas bills by up to 12.9% from 6 January but is upping electricity prices by up to 8.4% from 1 March.
Scottish Power blames rises in the wholesale energy market, as well as compulsory costs, such as the smart meter upgrade, for the household price hikes.
Colin McNeill, UK retail director at Scottish Power, says: “This increase will apply to one in three of our customers, and we continue to work hard to move even more customers to our fixed price deals. We will be writing to all those affected, outlining the changes and encouraging more loyal customers to move to a deal that best suits them.”
British Gas extends price freeze
In other energy related news, British Gas has extended its standard variable price freeze, which also applies to prepayment customers, until August. It had been due to end at the end of March.
Fellow Big Six providers E.on and SSE have frozen standard variable tariffs (including for prepayment customers).
Check if you can switch and save £100s
However, whether your provider is upping prices or freezing them, you should still check if you can switch and save.
The cheapest dual fuel tariff on the market is currently £834 for the average user paying by direct debit, according to uSwitch – so you could save hundreds if you’re stuck on a standard variable deal.
Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch, says: “On the surface this British Gas price freeze will seem to offer good short term peace of mind for the six million customers on British Gas’ standard plan. However, when you consider its standard plan is 25% or £210 more expensive than the cheapest plan on the market – you soon realise this isn’t the excellent news British Gas claims.”
Stephen Murray, energy expert at comparison website MoneySuperMarket, adds: “Regardless of which supplier you are with, if you are on a standard tariff - which is more than likely if you haven’t switched within the last 12 months - you just need to switch to a cheaper fixed deal now. There are savings in excess of £200 to be made – it is really up to consumers to take control.”