British Gas ‘first out the gate’ to announce price rise – homeowners urged to switch now

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British Gas is the first energy provider to reveal that it will be hiking its prices from April 1. The energy provider said it will impact 2.3 million of its customers. British Gas is the first of the Big Six to announce changes after Ofgem increased its price cap earlier this month.

The latest announcement from British Gas will see its average standard default tariff rise from £1,041 to £1,138 each year.

A spokesperson from British Gas said: “Ofgem announced a new price cap on February 5, we’ve confirmed that we would move our SVT to the new Ofgem price cap level.”

The Big Six refers to the UK’s largest retail suppliers of gas and electric.

EDF Energy, E.ON UK, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE are also part of the Big Six.

Ofgem said it would be increasing its price cap from April 1 2021 where it will return to the same level as before the coronavirus pandemic.

The price cap is put in place to protect customers who have not switched energy supplier.

Customers who don’t switch are therefore charged a fair price for their electricity and gas and aren’t charged astronomical amounts by suppliers on their standard variable tariffs.

However, experts are warning that the latest announcement from British Gas is just the tip of the iceberg with more announcements “in the coming days and weeks”.

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Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “Ofgem’s announcement of an increase to the energy price cap has fired the starting gun on a race to hike bills.

“British Gas is first out of the gate to announce a price rise, confirming that default tariff customers will see bills increase by an average of £97 from April 1.

“We expect to see more of these announcements in the coming days and weeks, but there’s no reason why you have to wait helplessly for your bills to soar.”

Ms Broomfield urged homeowners to protect themselves and switch before April 1.

She added: “These bill rises will come into effect on April 1, but there are plenty of fixed deals available now that can protect you right now from market volatility.

“The best value fixed deal currently available on the market is £945 from Avro Energy, while the new price cap will sit at £1,138 for typical usage.

“This means that by switching, households could save themselves £193 across their annual energy bills.”

Sofia Hutson, energy spokesperson at comparethemarket.com said Ofgem’s price cap increase has given energy suppliers an “official licence” to increase the price cap.

Ms Hutson said: “The regulator’s energy price cap increase has given suppliers an official licence to increase prices, with British Gas announcing it will be the first to do so since the announcement.

“Given the challenging financial position many households find themselves in at the moment, with British Gas increasing its prices and other suppliers likely to follow, more customers will be at risk of being pushed into the red.

“The price cap does not represent good value for money and one way customers can bring down the cost of their energy is by switching supplier.

“We would encourage every household impacted by these increases to see if they can get a better deal elsewhere.”

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