SSE - one of the UK's 'Big Six' energy firms - is increasing prices for its standard variable rate dual fuel (gas and electricity) customers from 28 April.

Electricity prices will rise by 14.9%, while gas prices are being frozen.

This equates to an 6.9% bill hike for a typical dual fuel customer, which is around £73 a year.

It's estimated that the price increase will impact 2.8 million SSE customers - those on its standard variable rate (SVR) tariff - if they take no action and fail to switch before the hike comes into effect.

Big Six increases

SSE's move follows an 8.8% dual fuel increase by Eon, announced last week.

Five of the Big Six - SSE, Eon, EDF, Npower and Scottish Power - have announced price increases for 2017.

British Gas has announced that it is extending its current SVR price freeze until August 2017.

However, its SVR customers could still save around £170 a year by switching to a cheaper fixed rate dual fuel deal, where the price per unit of energy used is guaranteed not to change for 12 months or more.

Tariff costs

Stephen Murray, MoneySuperMarket's energy expert, said: "As these pricing announcements are made, the only figure customers need to pay attention to is the total amount on their bill. Anyone on a standard tariff will be paying more than they need to, so they should switch to a fixed rate deal straight away."

Seasonal increases

The current round of price hikes is partly seasonal – we use more energy in the winter, so the cost tends to go up – and partly to do with a long-term trend for price rises on international markets.

Energy firms are also blaming rising prices on the increased costs associated with energy distribution across the UK, as well as green and social levies imposed by the government.

Even fixed rate tariffs – where the price per unit of energy is locked in for the duration of the deal – are getting more expensive, making it important to switch and fix as soon.

Switch and fix

For most households, fixed rate deals are still considerably cheaper than variable tariffs, so it makes sense to switch to a cheap fix.

And if you’re on a fixed tariff at the moment, keep a close eye on when it’s due to end and make sure you move to another fix to avoid sliding onto your existing supplier’s standard variable rate.

You will not have to pay any exit penalties in the 49 days running up to the end-date of your fixed tariff.

You can run an energy quote and fix your tariff here.

Here’s a run-down of what we know about price rises across the energy market:

British Gas

The UK’s biggest provider is freezing standard variable tariff prices until August 2017. Its standard variable tariff for average consumption is £1,044 – still £40 more than its cheapest fixed deal.

EDF

EDF cut its gas prices by 5.2% in January, but increased the cost of electricity by 8.4% from 1 March. Typical dual fuel tariffs will pay 1.2% more over all, up to £1,082.

Good Energy

The firm is freezing prices on its standard variable tariff until March 2017.

Eon

Eon is increasing prices for dual fuel SVR customers by 8.8% from 26 April. Electricity is up by 13.8%, gas by 3.8%.

Npower

Npower has announced a 9.8% increase for dual fuel customers - which equates to £109 a year for a typical household. This kicks in on 16 March.

Scottish Power

Scottish Power has announced a 7.8% increase for dual fuel customers from 31 March - around £83 for a typical household.

SSE

SSE is increasing electricity prices by 14.9% on 28 April 2017. This equates to a 6.9% hike for its 2.8 million dual fuel customers.

First Utility

Announced two new tariffs:
First Fixed September 2017 v3 Online
First Fixed September 2017 v4 Full Service

Ovo

Ovo has announced changes to its PAYM Simpler (variable) tariff, with an average increase of £50 per year. Customers who are only on gas tariffs will notice a decrease to their prices, and standing charges will be reduced for both gas and electricity.

Cooperative Energy

Coop is increasing prices for dual fuel SVR customers by 5% from 1 April.

Extra Energy

Extra Energy’s Fresh Fixed Price tariff will see an increase of more than 40%, an average increase of around £331.59 per year.

By Frankie Sammut

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.