Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
Business | By Jorge Reeves

British Gas customers to be hit with up to 12.5% price hike

British Gas customers to be hit with up to 12.5% price hike

It's the first-time British Gas has increased prices in four years, and it says the rise is needed to reflect the "increasing costs of energy policy, and delivery to customers' homes".

British Gas has announced plans to raise electricity prices by 12.5 percent from mid-September, affecting 3.5 million customers.

Such announcements are highly sensitive because they can affect share prices. But we have in the end had to respond, like many of our competitors, to the underlying increases we have seen in electricity.

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"British Gas customers should take matters into their hands and switch today to a fixed rate tariff with a "Big Six" or other reputable supplier".

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The increase comes soon after Centrica posted half-year results revealing that earnings from its consumer business plunged by more than a quarter after it lost 377,000 United Kingdom customer accounts in the first half.

Alex Neill, of consumer group Which?, said: "Hard-pressed consumers waiting to see how the Government will tackle costly standard variable tariffs will be disappointed to see prices rising".

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: "Energy firms should treat all their customers fairly and we're concerned this price rise will hit many people already on poor-value tariffs".

"What we've been seeing over the last year is a progressive increase in these cost over the last year".

British Gas is the last of the "big six" energy firms to increase prices.

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The rise was also announced alongside half-year results from British Gas owner Centrica revealing earnings from its consumer business plunged by more than a quarter after it lost 377,000 United Kingdom customer accounts in the first half.

The Government's promise of a price cap for all households on standard variable rate tariffs appears to have been watered down in recent months.

Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead said: "On the face of it, it doesn't appear to be justifiable at all".

"It is really important now that energy prices are stabilised and we need a cap to do that", he said.

"The summer months are a time when many people take their eye off their energy bills and there is a danger that millions of British Gas customers will miss this or shrug their shoulders in passive acceptance".

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"Capping energy bills for those eligible for the Warm Home Discount would protect the poorest families and pensioners across the board - which is why Ofgem's proposed safeguard tariff is the right approach".

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