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 150.

    "I have never understood why people believe the private = good...
    Public = exists purely to provide the service. Gov in control..."

    Understandable view, but a bit naive. Pubic sector workers are well known as "rent-seeking", feathering their own unionised nests while professing to serve the public. Did public ownership work in the USSR, or even in the UK in the 70s?

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    In the words of Prime Minister Pitt, the Younger "Poo to you with knobs on!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    Wow 8% rise - my wage did not go up by that much this year so i suppose that means i have to leave the gas / lights off for a few more hours each day just so i can keep my bills the same as last year! Perhaps it is time to go back to open fires rather than central heating - suppose then they would introduce a tree tax!

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    The basics in life are somewhere to live, warmth, sanitation, water and food.

    Where these industries were once a national assett or a necessity now a small number of disgustingly wealthy people control all of these resources.

    Welcome back to the middle ages.

    Margaret Thatcher should have that etched on her gravestone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    British Gas' parent company Centrica made half year profits of £145000000000

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    When will people look at the big picture? There are too many people on this planet for the planet to support. Prices will go up and up as supplies become more scarce. How do we reduce the number of people on the planet? I don't know. But there is nothing the UK can do about global energy prices. Change your lights to LED and insulate your home and if you can afford it get some solar panels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    119. jasonS100
    As a footballer I'm in line to receive a large payrise this year and can absorb these costs.
    Shall we meet on Hackney Marshes and absorb together.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    To rememberdurruti@131.I think the Winter fuel allowance has actually been reduced this year.Someone correct me if I'm wrong

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Sorry - but bugger the environment in 1000 years...we'll all be dead anyway and I'm cold now. Can we get a petition going to burn a normal fire again despite the smoke...would save recycling and keep me warm NOW. When I'm dead cremate me and use the heat from that as well if you old carcase may as well benefit somebody...I'd feel more useful dead than undervalused when alive like now

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    1 kWh of electric power costs more than FOUR TIMES 1 kWh of gas power. Yet millions of people use electric kettles instead of gas hob kettles.
    This amazing ignorance beggars belief, at least in homes fitted with a gas cooker.
    If you have a gas cooker, GET A GAS KETTLE and save yourself lots of money ! And by the way, cut your supplier's huge profits at the same time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Just in time for winter! No doubt our politicians will respond by telling everyone to "shop around" and "install more loft insulation" rather than actually doing something about this. I am sick to death of this weak response from our supposed representatives.

    If Ofgem the regulator won't do its job and regulate these companies, then why don't we save some taxpayer money by abolishing it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    I work for one of the big 6 utility companies the wholesale energy market is very unpredictable. fixed rate tariffs guarantee no price hikes switch to long term capped products before it`s to late !

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    @32 hello british gas employee.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    If this had happened when the utilities were publicly owned, Cameron would have been spouting off about the inefficiencies of the public sector and how wonderful if would be if it was privatised. I think we now know that all privitisation does it to put profit before anything else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Announced, of course, AFTER Cameron had finished his 'necessary cut backs' party conference.
    Any chance there was any collusion in timing between old pals?

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    They'll all follow suit and there'll be £2.5billion less spent up the high street next year. BT are also putting their prices up by 2 x inflation. Train companies likewise. Unless we all start getting 10% pay rises I don't think we can expect an economic recovery anytime soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Yes what can you do? If you reduce useage prices will have to go up to keep profits/dividends up. Maybe If we use more then those nice, kind (and not at all greedy) shareholders might reduce prices. Remember these people are the 'enterprising' that we cant upset because they may leave the country and then where would we be? We'd have to start running things for the benefit of all.

  • Comment number 133.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    19. geoffd
    Come on people, the more gas and electricity we save by "efficiency" the more these companies have to charge to keep profits high for their shareholders.
    A very good point. And it's the same with petrol - as we buy more fuel efficient cars that do more MPG, so the price of petrol goes up to compensate for lost profit.

    Hmm, funny that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    800,000 happy British Gas shareholders at the expense of how many dead OAP's this winter? Is this how depraved the UK has become? The winter fuel allowance hasn't gone up 8%


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