Co-op Energy customers on its standard variable tariff will be hit with average price rises of 5% from 1 April – but prepayment customers will see their bills reduced.
Price comparison website uSwitch says the 5% average increase will add £58 a year to the average dual fuel bill, taking average prices from £1,121 a year to £1,179 a year.
It’s the second time in six months the provider has upped prices on its Green Pioneer tariff. On 1 October 2016 those on a standard variable tariff saw prices rise by 3% on average, while pre-payment customers saw their prices hiked by up to 6% on average.
Co-op won’t tell us how many customers are affected. However, it has confirmed that this time round prepayment customers with the tariff – who pay for their energy in advance using a meter – will not be hit. Their bills will in fact fall by an average of 10.2% - or around £118 a year - from 1 April.
The Green Pioneer tariff - Co-op Energy’s only standard variable tariff - uses 100% renewable electricity, and is available on both a dual fuel and electricity-only basis.
In October 2016 the firm had to pay compensation to 260,000 customers following problems with its complaints handling and billing processes.
Check if you can save by switching
Whenever prices rise the message is to always check if you can switch and save by putting your details into an energy comparison website.
You could save £100s given the cheapest tariff on the market is £834 a year, according to uSwitch – although which tariff is best for you depends on your usage and on where you live.
Commenting on the news, Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch, says: “This is yet another reminder that loyalty doesn’t pay. Nearly one million Co-operative Energy customers across the country now face the prospect of paying £58 more for their energy this year – and including October’s price rise, they will be paying £90 more for their energy.
“With one in three working families already struggling to pay their energy bills – and the cost of living set to rise across the board – any price rise will have an impact on the bottom line for families struggling to make ends meet.”
A spokesperson for Co-op Energy says: “We try to protect customers from price fluctuations wherever possible. In recent months, however, we have absorbed a number of rising costs, including network charges and industry obligations.
“This is no longer sustainable and we have reluctantly taken the decision to pass on some of these costs to customers by increasing the Green Pioneer standard variable tariff by an average of 5%.
“We are in the process of writing to customers to notify them of this change now so that they can switch to a cheaper tariff if they choose.”
Are other energy providers upping prices?
Here’s what the Big Six energy providers are doing:
- British Gas: Frozen standard variable prices until August.
- E.on: Frozen standard variable tariff until April 2017.
- EDF: Cut gas bills by up to 12.9% from 6 January but is upping electricity prices by up to 8.4% from 1 March.
- Npower: Announced average hikes of 10% from 16 March.
- Scottish Power: Announced electricity prices will rise by an average of 10.8% while gas prices will go up by 4.7% on average from 31 March.
- SSE: Frozen standard variable tariff until April 2017.