Soaring energy bills hit home

Rising energy costs will hit home for millions of households tomorrow when Britain's biggest energy supplier hikes tariffs.

The move by British Gas, which supplies nearly half of UK households, will increase the average annual dual fuel bill by £190 a year to £1,219, meaning a monthly outlay of more than £100 for the first time.



As announced last month, its gas and electricity tariffs will rise by an average of 18% and 16% respectively, with customers in some areas seeing increases of up to 24%.



Scottish Power has already hiked bills, while Scottish & Southern Energy, Npower, E.ON have said they will raise tariffs in coming weeks.



The firms blame rising wholesale energy costs, although this argument has infuriated consumer groups who argue that households bills are at a record high despite wholesale costs being a third lower than their 2008 peak.



British Gas has hiked gas and electricity prices by around 44% and 21% respectively in that period, according to Consumer Focus.



The consumer body has called for a review of the energy market, including an end to complex tariffs and increased transparency to allow regulator Ofgem to judge whether bills are fair.



For the nine million British Gas customers affected by tomorrow's rise, household incomes are already being squeezed by steeper petrol, food and clothing costs, leading to fears that more could face a stark choice between heating and eating.



Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at price comparison service uSwitch.com, said: "As we head into autumn, the majority of British households will be facing the reality of substantially higher energy prices.



"This is going to put significant strain on family finances and will create considerable concern over winter energy bills this year."



She advised consumers to move to dual fuel tariffs, paying by direct debit, and signing up to a competitive online plan to reduce their bills.



EDF is the only one of the big six suppliers not to have announced a price hike, but Ashley Thomas and Daniel Vaun, utilities analysts at MF Global, said it could delay putting up its prices for a few more weeks as it tries to win customers.



British Gas has advised customers to wait and see what happens in the energy market before switching supplier.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent