British Gas became the second UK utility company in two weeks to raise itsprices on Friday, increasing domestic gas and electricity prices by an average of 7 percent from December 10, reported Reuters.
The increase, which reverses a 7 percent cut in British Gas customers' gas bills announced in February, will hit around 8 million customers on standard and variable tariffs, the Centrica-owned company said. British Gas blamed rising wholesale gas prices and associated costs for the increases.
But this latest hike in gas bills should not come as a surprise. I reported back in July that 'British Gas warn that utility bills could be on the way up'.
Are the other energy companies raising their prices?
- EDF Energy said on Tuesday it would not raise gas or electricity prices for winter, with standard tariffs fixed until at least March 2011.
- Scottish & Southern Energy said in late October it would increase household gas prices by 9.4 percent at the start of December.
- RWE npower, E.ON UK, and Iberdrola's Scottish Power have not yet announced any changes to their standard prices for this winter.
How much notice must utility companies give before increasing their prices?
Suppliers will soon have to give consumers 30 days warning before raising their prices under a plan by energy regulator Ofgem, which could come into force in January. Under current rules, suppliers can put up prices without notifying their customers for up to 65 days afterwards.
(The above was extracted from a report by Daniel Fineren of Reuters. The full report can be found here.)
Is there anything you can do to combat the price rises?
Yes there is. It pays to vigilant when it comes to how much you pay for your energy bills so read my post Lunchtime Money Makeover – Top 6 ways to reduce your energy bills.