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British Gas has announced 7% price hikes following SSE's 9% hike. Others are likely to follow. Unless you're on a super cheap online tariff SWITCH NOW!

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British Gas price hikes – what should consumers do about it?

Posted on Thursday 14 July 2011

The UK’s largest energy supplier – British Gas, has announced that prices will go up from the 18th August for both gas and electricity. As usual, there will be widespread disapproval when looked at in the context of the huge profits made by BG and just about all the major UK suppliers (or their foreign owners).

That said, suppliers do face more pressure than almost at any stage in their histories to squeeze more out of their customer bases. Covering the cost of rising wholesale prices, investment programmes and renewable obligations imposed by government has an inevitable impact on bills. We are going to have to accept that this is a pattern likely to continue for years to come.

As customers now rush to find themselves a better deal however, it can perhaps be seen as a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. We are all guilty of it, but by waiting until suppliers prices go up to find a cheaper deal, often the most competitive offers in the market will be missed in the interim. We all need to be more pro-active all year round; sourcing the best deals as they become available, not waiting to be prompted by suppliers into action!

Scottish Power announce further increases!

Posted on Tuesday 7 June 2011

One of the UK’s largest energy companies, ScottishPower has announced that it will be increasing electricity bills by an average of 10%, and domestic gas bills by an average of 19% from the 1st August.

Whilst these increases by ScottishPower are not entirely unexpected, and there is some relief that they at least come during the summer months when usage levels are at their lowest, it’s going to push up the average bill of up to 2.4 million Scottish Power customers considerably. Many householders will of course be concerned that this is a sign of things to come across the rest of the market – and they are right to be concerned too.

The question now for many consumers, will be whether to fix into longer term fixed deals which protect against future prices rises, albeit at a small premium on the most competitive tariffs in the market. They offer protection against future rises, and peace of mind in the medium term. As always, be sure to fully understand the terms and conditions, including any exit penalties that may apply for signing into one of these tariffs.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t waste any time; other suppliers are sure to follow suit sooner or later! The Switching Helpline’s trained experts are on hand to help you make an informed decision, and can walk any prospective switcher through all the options available in detail.

BOE – ‘Inflation set to hit 5% thanks to predicted price increases’

Posted on Wednesday 11 May 2011

On Monday, British Gas owners Centrica announced that current retail prices did not reflect the price they themselves were paying for energy on the wholesale markets. The implication is clear; higher fuel bills are on the way.

Many analysts are predicting price increases of up to 10 and% or 15% in electricity and gas prices respectively by the end of the year. That would hit Britain’s households hard at just the wrong time, as winter usage levels reach their peak and the overall inflation rate surges higher.

It’s not unexpected news however, and we have been warning for some time right here that increased bills were an innevitability. It’s not simply increases in wholesale cost which will impact on the cost of energy. Government imposed obligations on renewable generation and a huge investment programme over the next ten years will push prices higher still.

Taking steps to become more energy efficient and reviewing your supply regularly are the tools at your disposal, but as a nation we are still not proactive enough. Our expert agents make finding the cheapest and best deal for you simpler than ever so don’t delay and let us help you start saving today!

Centrica makes huge profits…. again!

Posted on Thursday 24 February 2011

Well, here we go again. Confusion and doubt in the minds of consumers about bumper profits and dividends for shareholders on the back of increased prices. How are consumers supposed to reconcile these two facts? The answer is – not easily.

There has always been too little transparency when it comes to understanding the link between wholesale prices and retail prices; even less in the relationship between upstream and downstream activities in these large vertically integrated behemoths. Why, I hear you say, should British Gas residential be putting prices up at all when there is such a healthy margin on it’s downstream actvities – a trend likely to continue.

Simply – it’s something that consumers will have to come to terms with, as suppliers continue to balance the needs of shareholders and the demands of the government. Power rests not with the regulator, but in the hands of a handful of key players with huge buying power. We play by their rules, and will continue to do so. Ofgem is doing its best to protect and empower consumers but the truth is that fundamentally the market remains fiendishly difficult to enter for any wannabe suppliers.

Prices will go up in the future  – a combination of government imposed obligations and wholesale shifts. We cant rely on, or blame the regulator for how the market moves. It’s up to all of us to engage with a competitive market, and make it work for us all. As ever, it means taking up the cheapest deals on offer and being a bit more frugal with how much we use!

EON raises prices 9 percent – “a sign of things to come”

Posted on Wednesday 12 January 2011

E.ON has announced electricity price rises of 9 per cent, with gas prices due to rise by 3 per cent, adding approximately £60 to the bills of more than 4 million customers across the UK.

Rivals, such as British Gas, SSE and Scottish Power have already annouced large price rises – making E.ON one of the last to annouce.

Will Marples of energy price comparison service The Switching Helpline described the price rise as “a sign of things to come – and a timely reminder of how important it is for consumers to check they’re on the best possible tariff”.

“Whether or not prices are rising its important for customers to recognise that they can make significant savings in the hundreds of pounds by switching to the cheapest gas or electricity suppliers. Price rises remind consumers how big a proportion of their incomes goes on utility bills.”

Graham Bartlett, Managing Director of EON’s Energy Solutions business stated:

“It has been over two years since we last increased our prices, and, unlike other companies, we held off from increasing them during the incredibly cold temperatures we saw in late November and December”.

The recent string of price rises also comes in the wake of an announcement that Ofgem is reviewing the domestic energy market to see if more is needed to protect consumers. The review is due to report in the coming months, and EDF are expected to announce price rises when their price freeze comes to an end in March.

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