Business

SSE to raise gas and electricity prices

SSE logo Image copyright PA

SSE has become the last of the "big six" energy companies to announce early summer price rises, with a 6.7% average increase in gas and electricity bills.

The move will see gas prices rise by 5.7% and electricity prices go up by 7.7% on 11 July for SSE customers on variable deals.

This will mean an average £76 per year rise for 2.36 million customers.

The company said the price rise was the result of increasing costs "largely outside our control".

"We deeply regret having to raise prices and have worked hard to withstand the increasing costs," said Stephen Forbes, chief commercial officer at the company.

"The cost of supplying energy is increasing and this ultimately impacts the prices we are able to offer customers."

Full set

All the major domestic energy suppliers have announced some form of price rise in recent weeks.

Some 4.1 million British Gas customers faced a 5.5% hike as of Tuesday, adding an average of £60 to bills. The move was branded as "unjustified" by the government when it was announced.

Scottish Power is increasing prices by 5.5%, or £63 on average, for nearly one million people from 1 June.

EDF has a 2.7%, or £16, electricity price rise coming into effect on 7 June for 1.2 million customers.

Npower's 5.3% increase, an average of £64, will hit one million people from 17 June.

E.On has made changes to how it bills customers which took effect in April. They will amount to a rise in the average standard variable rate of £22.

Merger plans

Last week, SSE - which is planning to merge its retail arm with rival Npower - announced that it profits fell last year as it lost 430,000 customers.

SSE pointed to competitive pressures as the number of domestic energy accounts fell from 7.23 million to 6.8 million.

The government has criticised the price rise announced by the company, ahead of a cap on some variable rate tariffs.

Energy minister Claire Perry said: "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."

Peter Earl, from price comparison website comparethemarket.com, which makes it money from consumers switching, said: "With the company announcing last week that it lost 430,000 customers in the past year, it is clear that people are realising that many tariffs offered by these energy giants are fundamentally bad value."

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