Customers on the standard variable tariff will see their bills rise by 3.8%, taking the average dual fuel bill to £1205.
British Gas is adding £44 to the typical fuel bill for 3.5 million customers in the second increase this year.
Britain’s biggest energy supplier blamed rising wholesale energy prices for the 3.8% rise in its standard variable tariff. It is the company’s second bill increase in 2018, less than four months following a 5.5% rise announced on 10 April.
From 1st October a typical dual fuel customer will pay £1,205 a year – £104 more than before the first increase took effect on 29 May.
If you get your gas and electricity from Sainsbury’s Energy – a ‘white label’ of British Gas, so it’s the same company using a different brand name – you’ll also be hit by the same price rise.
British Gas is the third of the ‘big six’ energy suppliers to announce two price rises this year, following in the footsteps of E.on and EDF.
British Gas’s owner, Centrica, said in July it was considering a further price increase after wholesale prices rose and competitors put up their rates. Announcing the second increase, Centrica said the cost of buying energy in the wholesale market had risen by 20% since April.
Mark Hodges, the chief executive of Centrica’s consumer business, said: “We have today reluctantly announced plans for an increase in our standard variable tariff. We understand that any price increase adds extra pressure on customers’ household bills. However, this reflects the sharp rise in wholesale energy costs.”
The increase will put further pressure on household budgets squeezed by wages, which have barely kept pace with inflation. In the three months to May, wage growth slowed to 2.5%, the lowest for six months, while inflation stands at 2.4%.
Campaigners and politicians, including the energy minister, Claire Perry, had criticised the increase announced in April.
‘Don’t get angry… switch’
Guy Anker, the deputy editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, said British Gas customers on the standard tariff should shop around for cheaper deals.
Anker said: “Millions will rightly be furious with British Gas when they hear of yet another price hike. But its customers need to turn that anger into action.”
“For someone with typical use, those on British Gas’s standard tariffs can save £100s a year by ditching and switching, and many firms that are far cheaper have vastly better customer service ratings.
“So the message is plain. If you do nothing you WILL be taken advantage of.”
How can I beat the hike?
There are no exit fees with both British Gas’s standard tariff and its Temporary Tariff, so you can ditch and switch penalty-free at any point. And if you’re on either tariff you’re likely already overpaying by £100s/year, so don’t wait for the price hike – act now to save.
If you’re currently on British Gas’s standard tariff, switching to the cheapest deal on the market at £853/yr could save you upwards of £300/yr, based on typical use.