British Gas Customers Hit By Rise In Energy Costs

British Gas becomes the latest in the 'Big Six' to raise prices this winter
British Gas becomes the latest in the 'Big Six' to raise prices this winter

Nearly eight million households will wake up to higher energy costs today when British Gas hikes its prices in the latest round of winter bill rises.

Customers of the Centrica-owned energy giant face a 10.4% increase in electricity prices, while gas will rise by 8.4% - meaning the average customer dual-fuel bill will rise by £123 to £1,444 a year, according to Ofgem usage figures.

The blow comes just a week after rival "big six" provider SSE lifted its prices by an average of 8.2%, impacting around 7.3 million of its customers.

Five of the major suppliers have so far announced their price rises, with the remaining increases taking effect between December and early January, just as the colder winter weather sets in.

Only German-owned E.ON is yet to reveal its hand, but has already warned that tariff rises are "increasingly likely" and is reportedly planning to announce a new year rise later this month.

But there is some hope for cash-strapped families as most of the energy groups have confirmed they will reduce price rises if the Government delivers its expected cut to green levies.

EDF Energy revealed a planned 3.9% price rise last week that is less than half announced by its rivals after it chose not to pass on the costs of green levies in anticipation of them being scrapped.

Fledgling supplier Co-operative Energy then followed suit by announcing it was scaling back its price increase, from an average of 4.5% to 2%.

British Gas, SSE and npower have all vowed to do the same and pass on any levy reductions to customers in full.

There is mounting anger over charges that are pushing up household energy costs.

Regulator Ofgem yesterday told five of the six companies that own and operate Britain's local electricity network they must do more to cut costs for consumers.

The watchdog rejected their business plans for the period between April 2015 and March 2023, with Western Power Distribution, which serves customers in south Wales, the Midlands and the south west of England, the only company to have its price controls agreed early.

Around 19% of an annual electricity bill is made up of network distribution costs.

National Grid revealed on Thursday a 7.7% rise in earnings from running UK gas and electricity networks to £1.2 billion for the six months to September 30 - this comes after it increased the amount charged to customer bills.

Charges for energy distribution and transmission have risen by £11 over the past year and now make up around £171 of annual household energy bills.

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