It’s been on the cards for weeks but that still didn’t soften the blow when it was delivered – British Gas hiked prices on both its gas and electricity standard tariffs by 15%.
The hikes, which come into effect immediately, add approximately £85 to an average gas bill and £54 to an electricity bill – an overall increase of £138 a year.
However, despite the price hikes, British Gas remains the country’s cheapest provider!
What the headlines aren’t so quick to point out is that British Gas did not raise rates on two of its products – its Market Tracker and Click Energy 4 deals, and the latter remains the most competitive product available.
Simply put, British Gas has run out of patience with consumers who have failed to switch to its online tariff on monthly direct debit – and now it’s charging them £300 extra to sit on a standard tariff.
British Gas wants you on its Click Energy 4 deal because it’s simpler and more cost efficient for the company to run. So it will reward you with significant savings for making the switch. The product is the cheapest on average throughout the UK – so my advice is that you should check out our gas and electricity comparison tool now and find out if it’s the cheapest for you. If it is, then don’t hesitate – move now!
If you’re adamant about finding an alternative to British Gas then other options include Scottish Power and E.ON’s online offerings, Online Energy Saver 4 and Energy Online Extra Saver 4 respectively. Only E.ON and Scottish Power are yet to show their hands but the pressure is on them to follow npower and British Gas's path by not increasing their highly competitive online tariffs.
Other good news out of recent announcements is that Scottish & Southern Energy (which operates through its Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro, SWALEC and Atlantic brands) has announced it won’t increase prices until at least March 30, 2008 – the end of British Summer Time. This means that while price hikes appear inevitable, its customers will not have to worry about paying extra during the most expensive months of the year. For more on this story, click here to read the article.
Another mover this month is Utilita - it has been forced to increase its prices meaning it is now struggling to offer a proposition to its customers as it remains the only provider to have 12-month contracts attached to its products.
Perhaps therefore it’s not so much which provider you’re with, as which tariff you’re on. Remember that your supplier will not automatically place you on its cheapest deal – you must shop around and be prepared to join the online revolution. It’s what the providers want, and with savings of £300 to be made, why ignore them any longer?
As a final note, if you’re looking to make additional winter-time savings check out our article 'The true cost of fixing a boiler'.
If your boiler breaks down during the winter months, the average cost of repair is £235.37 – yet heating cover can be purchased for as little as £9 a month and can provide valuable peace of mind that you’ll get help as soon as you need it. Visit our new heating cover comparison tool for an overview of the deals available.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that any rates or deals mentioned in this article applied at the time of writing and may no longer be available/applicable today.