Following hot on the heels of npower's shock announcement that it was raising prices by a whopping 9.8%, British Gas has taken a slightly calmer approach and revealed that it's freezing its prices until August – but ScottishPower has followed in the footsteps of npower, announcing a 7.8% price hike from 31 March.
British Gas says that it's extending its price freeze for customers on its standard energy tariff until August, "despite increases in external costs". It said that it's able to do this by significantly reducing its own internal costs, so customers aren't yet bearing the brunt of wholesale price rises.
This means millions of British Gas customers can be safe in the knowledge that their standard energy bills won't be rising until at least August, and while it may only be temporary, it'll nonetheless be welcome news, putting rumours of a forthcoming price rise to rest. However, the same can't be said for ScottishPower…
The firm is increasing its standard gas and electricity prices across the board, which will see standard dual fuel bills increase by an average of 7.8%, standard electricity prices by 10.8% and standard gas prices by 4.7%.
ScottishPower blames the price hikes on the rising cost of wholesale energy, as well as the costs involved in meeting various Government obligations (such as the Smart meter rollout), which unfortunately sees approximately one-third of its customers paying the price. This means that nearly two out of three homes supplied by ScottishPower won't be affected by the price change, says the firm, but that's small consolation for the thousands who will be.
"This increase will apply to one in three of our customers, and we continue to work hard to move even more customers to our fixed price deals," said Colin McNeill, UK Retail director at the supplier. "We will be writing to all those affected, outlining the changes and encouraging more loyal customers to move to a deal that best suits them.
"This price change follows months of cost increases that have already led to significant rises in fixed price products that now unfortunately have to be reflected in standard prices."
The one silver lining of standard price hikes is that it should hopefully encourage more customers to switch to fixed rate tariffs, with these typically being far cheaper than their variable rate alternatives. Fixed rate deals aren't impacted by these price rises, either, so don't hang around!
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