British Gas customers facing ‘infuriating’ price hike.
British Gas customers still on the company’s standard variable tariff (SVT) have been urged to switch to a cheaper deal or face an “infuriating” second price hike within the space of a few months.
British Gas is raising the cost of its SVT by 3.8% on October 1, meaning the average bill for 3.5 million existing dual fuel customers will increase by £44 to £1205.
The increase is the second for British Gas customers this year, after the company announced in April that it was increasing its prices by an average 5.5% from May 29 for both its SVT and its new Temporary Tariff fixed-rate deal, which replaced the standard tariff at the end of March.
The company blamed the latest increase on a 20% rise in the costs of buying wholesale energy since April.
Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: “This second price rise within the space of a few months will be infuriating for customers who have now seen their bills hiked by an average of £104 in six months.
“They should take the power back into their own hands and radically change how much they pay, simply by choosing a better deal.
“Before the energy price cap comes into effect later this year, customers still stuck on poor value standard tariffs should look to switch now as they could potentially save almost £400 a year.”
The government’s scheme to roll out advanced meters to firms began in 2009 as a national project to modernise the energy sector.
Energy giant Npower has been fined £2.4m for failing meet the deadline for installing advanced meters to business customers, Ofgem has said.
The Big-Six energy supplier failed to install the advanced electricity meters for business customers at nearly 4,000 locations by the April 2014 deadline, while also wrongly installing around 200 traditional meters, the energy watchdog said.
The government’s scheme to roll out advanced meters to firms began in 2009 as part of a national project to modernise the energy sector.
The devices were an earlier form of smart meter for large businesses.
Ofgem said Npower’s failings meant affected customers missed out on the opportunity to receive better information about their energy consumption and control costs.
Rob Salter-Church, Ofgem interim executive director for consumers and markets, said: “Npower is paying the price for failing to meet its obligations and letting down its business customers.
“The government set a clear deadline for suppliers to ensure no business customers unnecessarily missed out on the benefits of advanced meters, including the opportunity to save money on their bills.
“The fine reflects that there were systemic failings by Npower which led to the serious failure of not meeting the deadline.
SSE is closing in on 2GW of installed onshore wind capacity in the UK and Ireland, according to a new company report documenting 10 years of green growth.
The ‘A decade of clean growth: SSE’s contribution to the onshore wind revolution’ report said capacity totalled 1917MW as of June this year, a three-fold increase since 2008.
SSE said it estimated £3.9bn of value added to the UK and Irish economies as a result of onshore wind investments.
A decade of green growth had also led to around 67,000 years of full-time employment across the UK and Ireland, it added.
SSE director of generation development Paul Cooley said: “We wanted to understand just how our expansion of onshore wind over the past 10 years has benefited the UK and Ireland and this report shows just what a positive impact our onshore wind portfolio has had, not just on the environment and on the economy, but on real people in their real lives.”
Around 5 million British households are set for lower energy bills this winter after parliament approved a law on gas and electricity tariff price caps, energy regulator Ofgem said on Thursday.
Ofgem is now required to cap prices on Standard Variable Tariffs offered by the six dominant energy providers for households using gas and electricity which studies have shown were far higher than other tariffs on offer.
“The cap will tackle the amount consumers have been overpaying … which the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found to be an average of 1.4 billion pounds a year. Some consumers could save up to 350 pounds a year on gas and electricity bills by switching suppliers,” Ofgem said.
The British government has previous slammed the energy suppliers for offering “rip-off” prices.
The six suppliers controlling around 80 percent of the market are Centrica’s, British Gas, SSE, E.ON, EDF Energy, Innogy’s, Npower and Iberdrola’s (IBE.MC) Scottish Power.
They have all raised their Standard Variable Tariff prices this year ahead of the price cap.
Around 35,000 former customers of Ebico have been compensated a combined £665,000 by SSE after the Big Six provider delayed switching customers following the withdrawal of its ‘white label’ partnership tariff with Ebico.
At the end of 2016 Ebico terminated its partnership with SSE and in February 2017, the Big Six supplier withdrew its white label tariff with Ebico from the market.
Suppliers have 49 days to move customers onto another tariff when a tariff is withdrawn from the market.
However, SSE took almost six months to do so, which resulted in some 6,000 customers who were moved to a cheaper tariff losing money due to the delayed switch. These customers have been compensated a combined £190,000.
A further 29,000 former Ebico customers who were switched to a more expensive tariff have also received a combined goodwill gesture of £475,000 from SSE.
Gareth Wood, director of customer service operations at SSE, says: “We’re disappointed not to have met the high standards expected of us in this instance, but took voluntary action to put things right and ensured any customers facing detriment were identified, contacted and compensated in full.
“In addition, we voluntarily decided to credit customers who had actually benefited from the delayed migration. We’re pleased that Ofgem is satisfied the matter has been resolved and has now closed the case.”
Energy customers urged to switch before price hikes take effect
Millions of energy customers have been urged to switch suppliers or at least tariffs to save more than £400 a year before the latest round of price hikes comes into effect.
Some nine million customers of the Big Six companies should switch to a better deal or end up overpaying by up to £434, Which? has warned.
The latest price hike by British Gas came into effect on May 29, increasing the bills of four million of its dual fuel standard tariff customers from £1,101 to £1,161 – 5.5% or £60 – on average per year.
The amount is £364 more than the cheapest deal on the market, but still only makes the British Gas standard tariff the fourth most expensive of the Big Six firms after npower, Scottish Power and SSE once all price rises have come into effect, the watchdog calculated.
SSE customers on its standard tariff will see the biggest price increase at an average £76 more per year.
The firm announced a 6.7% price rise this week to come into force on July 11, meaning customers will pay £1,196 per year on average.
Overall, npower customers will pay the most as its 5.5% price increase will mean customers on its standard tariff will pay £1,230 per year on average from June 17.
Which? said npower customers on its standard tariff could save up to £434 by switching to the cheapest deal on the market, Utility Point’s variable tariff at £797 per year, or £268 by switching to npower’s own cheapest tariff.
British Gas households who want to remain with the supplier could save £113 if they transferred from the standard tariff to the best deal available.
Scottish Power customers on its standard tariff will see their bills increase by an average of £63 a year under a 5.5% increase coming into effect on June 1, bringing its standard tariff to £1,211 on average per year.
The one million households on this deal will be paying £414 more than if they were on the cheapest deal on the market and £100 more than Scottish Power’s own cheapest tariff, the consumer group calculated.
Over a million EDF customers on the firm’s standard tariff will see their electricity bills increase by 1.4%, or £16 a year, from June 7, taking the deal to a total of £1,158 for the average user – £361 more than the cheapest deal on the market and £167 more than EDF’s own cheapest deal.
E.On has not announced a price increase but announced in March that it was cutting dual-fuel and paperless discounts from its bills and increasing its standing charge for some customers.
The watchdog said this would mean some customers paying £30 more a year, leading to an average annual bill of £1,153.
Companies have blamed rising policy, network and wholesale energy costs for the price increases.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Before the energy price cap comes into effect later this year, anyone still suffering on a poor value standard tariff should take five minutes to compare and switch as they could potentially save up to £434 a year.”
Energy Minister Claire Perry said: “Eleven million households are already paying far more for their energy than they need to which is why we took the unprecedented step of introducing legislation to put a cap on prices for those on the most expensive default tariffs.
“It is extremely disappointing that SSE has decided to announce this unjustified price rise, the highest yet from the Big Six, ahead of the new law coming into effect later this year.
“Consumers should vote with their feet. Switching suppliers will always help consumers get the best deal.
“An average consumer can save around £300 by switching from a default tariff offered by the Big Six to one of the cheapest deals in the market.”
Npower Hikes Energy Bills By 5.3% For 1M UK customers.
Npower is increasing its average energy bill by 5.3 per cent, in a move that will affect one million customers.
The company said it was hiking its typical dual fuel annual energy bill by £64, across all payment types, with the 5.3 per cent rise made up of an average rise of 4.4 per cent on gas and 6.2 per cent on electricity.
The new changes will impact approximately one million of Npower’s UK customers and will come into effect on 17 June, the provider said.
The proposed merger between two of the Big Six energy companies, SSE and Npower, has been referred for further investigation by the competitions regulator.
The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision today follows its initial Phase 1 investigation, which found that the deal could reduce competition.
SSE and Npower have not offered to introduce any measures to address the CMA’s concerns.
Npower and SSE merger could lead to higher prices.
A spokesperson for innogy, Npower’s parent company, says: “We look forward to helping the CMA in its in-depth investigation of our merger with SSE’s retail and energy services business throughout the Phase 2 process.