Gas and electricity Updated:
British Gas has begun notifying its customers that the price of their gas and electricity is to rise from next month.
Domestic tariffs for gas are being increased by an average of 18%, and for electricity by an average of 16% on 18 August 2011.
The energy firm estimates that annual dual fuel bills for customers with average consumption will increase by £190 as a result of the price hikes.
British Gas said that while it recognises the difficulties customers are facing in the current economic climate, the decision has been necessary following a 30% rise in wholesale energy costs since last winter.
"British Gas aims to offer competitive prices and protect customers from cost increases in the wholesale market as far as possible," said a statement from the firm.
"But the company cannot continue to make a loss on the energy it sells, as it needs to be a profitable business in order to invest in future sources of energy for Britain."
British Gas managing director, Phil Bentley, said: "We know there is never a good time to raise prices, but we are buying in a global energy market and have to pay the market rate.
"Rising wholesale costs is an issue facing all energy suppliers.
"Our advice to customers is to wait and see what happens in the energy retail market as a whole before making any decisions about switching supplier.
"In the mean time, they should get in touch with us and ask about the simple ways we're offering to help keep bills under control."
Despite the forecast £190 rise in bills, British Gas said the warm spring weather and continuing energy efficiency means its customers may not see an increase in their dual fuel bills from last year.
The company is the second of the 'Big Six' energy firms to announce a price rise this year.
In June, Scottish Power confirmed that it would be increasing gas and electricity prices for retail customers by 19% and 10% respectively.
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