British Gas to raise its gas and electricity prices

Oven British Gas last raised its tariffs in August 2011

British Gas is due to announce increases to its gas and electricity charges on Friday, the BBC understands.

It is expected to raise its charges for both by about 8%, adding £100 a year to the average dual fuel bill.

The increase is expected to come into effect in about one month.

Its rival SSE, which trades as Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric, has already said it will raise its prices by an average of 9% from Monday.

With the average dual fuel bill now more than £1,300, Age UK said many older people were feeling "extremely anxious" about their heating bills.

"Cold homes pose a serious risk to the health of older people, yet huge numbers of older people cannot afford to heat their homes properly," said Michelle Mitchell, director general of Age UK.

Rising costs

British Gas last raised its tariffs in August 2011, when gas prices went up by 18% and electricity prices by 16%.

Then in January 2012, it cut its electricity prices by 5%.

British Gas has so far declined to comment. However, in May this year the company warned that it might have to raise domestic prices this winter.

The firm cited rising wholesale gas prices as the reason, arguing that they were likely to be 15% higher this winter than last.

The rest of the big six energy suppliers are expected to follow British Gas and SSE's lead this year, except for Eon, which promised not to do so this year, so will have to wait until January at the earliest.

In May, British Gas' parent company Centrica said other costs such as government energy efficiency policies would add another £50 to the cost of supplying energy to the average home.

The company is expected to say more about these extra costs, which are understood to have risen, on Friday.

Age UK is calling on the government to invest more in improving the energy efficiency of older people's homes.

The government said it did not speculate about supplier price announcements, but acknowledged that "rising energy prices are hitting many households hard at a difficult time and need to ensure we are doing all we can to help them keep their bills down".

Labour, meanwhile, said the government should "break the dominance of the energy giants, to simplify tariffs and to protect vulnerable customers from being ripped off".

"Hard-pressed families and businesses need much more transparency on costs, pricing and profits to know whether they're getting a fair deal," said shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint.

Under the government's Warm Home Discount Scheme, energy suppliers agreed to give discounts on energy bills to older households who receive certain benefits.

When it was launched last year, the government said it expected the four-year scheme to be worth £1.1bn and to help two million low-income households with their energy bills.

Energy price changes since November 2010

Scottish Power SSE British Gas Npower E.On EDF

G=Gas. E=Electricity.

Nov 2010

G:2% E:8.9%



G:7% E:7%

Jan 2011

G: 5.1% E: 5.1%


G:3% E:9%


G:6.5% E:7.5%


G:19% E:10%

G:18% E:16%


G:18% E:11%

G:18% E:11%


G:15.7% E:7.2%


G:15.4% E:4.5%

Jan 2012

E: -5%


G: -5%

G: -5%

E: -6%

G: -5%


G: -4.5%


G: 9% E:9%


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  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    do you think the government could care 1 jot about people dying because of the cold....nah its a few off the welfare bill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    I find it entertaining how utility companies provide a pie chart explaining their costs with each bill they send... with the profit margins always being represented as a mere sliver of a slice compared to the admin and billing costs. Apparently providing paper bills is the most complex and costly part of supplying gas and electricity to millions of homes...

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    I have never understood why people believe the private = good when it comes to essential services like Healthcare, Energy, Water and Transport.

    It isn't... and it's obvious why (for some anyway)

    Private = exists purely to make profit. The service comes second to profits

    Public = exists purely to provide the service. Gov in control accountable to voters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    92.Robert E7
    How can this be tolerated by Cameron?

    + Current UK gas bill arrangements/contracts etc were set up by Milliband when he was Labour's energy minister.

    Well done RED - great global carbon trading by you - shame we can't all afford to have the fire on No 2 and Labour finished with 4.8 million in fuel poverty by 2010

    Milliband's gas bill is re-chargeable on MP's expenses?

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    Food prices going up!
    Gas / leccy prices going up!!
    When will my family income go up.
    tighten you belts people and tell the kids Christmas is cancelled!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Interesting everyone is expected to tighten their belts for the good of the big society and the economy .... except utility companies who should get every penny they can screw out of us and not cut profits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Awful. This will hit the vulnerable hard.

    Who's to blame? Greedy utitlities companies? Partly. But what about tree-hugging environmentalists who have retarded development of energy capacity? The Bank of England's money-printing which has stoked inflation? Labour's legacy of enormous public debt that has crippled the economy?

    All guilty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    How about we leave all the rhetoric about collusion, wholesale gas prices rising force firms to raise prices to maintain their margins.

    If your looking for somebody to blame for rising gas prices, remember its a finite resource and we've used much of it already (although shale gas may buy us another 50 years).

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    These companies operate a monopoly and an informal cartel ( or maybe just a cartel) and are foreign owned. Do they increase like this back home? I doubt it. The Gov watchdog is and always has been toothless. Does anyone know Richard Branson? Ask him to set up Virgin Energy and undercut this lot. He would do Britain a service and make a fortune in the process. We need real competition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.


    You don't complain when sky sports goes up.
    Simple turn your stat down and don't put your heating on in the morning when you are off to work will save you a fortune.

    How will your "sage" advice help people like my 84 year old mother?
    No Sky
    Fixed (actually falling) income.
    Thermostat already set too low @ 60 degrees.
    Would you suggest she look for a job?

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    To anyone under a certain age who mightn't know the references to Sid.It was the campaign that the Tories launched under that monstrous woman Thatcher when she was hell-bent on selling off everything that moved.She has a lot to answer for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    As a footballer I'm in line to receive a large payrise this year and can absorb these costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    British gas have been knocking on my home door recently telling me to join them and all the benefits. they even claimed (falsely) that all other companies were losing me all makes sense now.
    I didn't sign with them as they tricked the same trick 2 years ago just before they raised their prices back then! There are other better providers out there who are more honest

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    I was wondering what to do with my spare £180 this Winter. Was thinking to give it to Shelter, but it turns out I have to give it to this equally philanthropic organisation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Let's hope for a mild winter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    Same old same old - put it up a lot in winter lower it a little in summer. a licence to steal all Government watchdogs are cosly and useless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    But it won't really matter 'cos we've all (including Sid) got shares in gas, electric, water, railways just like matron maggie told us to do and we don't mind these price increases 'cos we'll get enough in our dividends to pay won't we? Don't tell me you've gone and sold those shares to pay the mortgage have you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Just remember who you can thank for these outrageous gas prices - Margaret Thatcher & the Conservative Party. They are also responsible for the high rail ticket prices, water prices, telephone charges, electricity & right now they are planning to privatise the NHS & the Post Office so expect more price hikes. YOU voted for them people so stop complaining ! You get what you deserve.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    A little less spent on advertising (we all know who British Gas are), A little less profit need in times of austerity and a common sense approach. How do the chiefs at British Gas sleep at night knowing there are the elderly, families, businesses struggling to stay afloat? I know.... In their big warm houses paid for by those that are struggling. Work hard Mr Cameron says.... For what?

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Energy politics are simple for governments. Cold = debilitation and weakness and liability to infection = old folk get ill over a period of systemic accumulative effects and die. Death = no pension payments, no subsidies, no fuel allowance, no carers to pay = saving money for government to waste on paying for it's own mistakes - the Rail franchise etc. Thats real politics and they are all as bad


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