British Gas raises electricity prices by 12.5%

GETTY    
   ENERGY British Gas have announced a significant price hike for this September

GETTY ENERGY British Gas have announced a significant price hike for this September

Overshadowing its interim results, British Gas owner Centrica has today announced that it will increase the price of electricity by 12.5 per cent from mid September.

British Gas said the price rise will add an extra £76 to a typical annual household fuel bill, a 7.3 per cent increase that will take the average bill to £1,120 a year.

Such announcements are highly sensitive because they can affect share prices.

It was titled "Why we've had to raise electricity prices - our first increase since November 2013.' However, the body of the text read only 'blah blah", suggesting the upload was an error.

"Seven in ten households are overpaying for their energy on expensive standard tariffs, yet within ten minutes they could switch and save hundreds of pounds - as well as protect themselves against further hikes by fixing their tariff".

Mark Hodges is the chief executive of Centrica - which owns British Gas.

The increase comes soon after Centrica posted half-year results revealing that earnings from its consumer business plunged by more than a quarter after it lost 377,000 United Kingdom customer accounts in the first half.

"We held off increasing prices for many months longer than most suppliers in order to protect our customers from rising costs, so it is a hard decision to have to announce an increase in electricity prices", said Mark Hodges, head of Centrica Consumer.

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"We will introduce a safeguard tariff cap that will extend the price protection now in place for some vulnerable customers to more customers on the poorest value tariffs ... the safeguard tariff cap will protect customers who do not switch against abusive price increases".

It was quickly removed from the website and British Gas subsequently refused to comment, beyond saying it does not speculate about future electricity pricing.

We have announced today that because we are anxious about vulnerable customers this winter that an additional 200,000 customers who get a wrap home discount will be protected from the price rise.

Will Hodson, co-founder of consumer collective The Big Deal, said it was the "ultimate slap in the face for families" and "unjustifiable".

But Labour said it showed the Government had failed to rein in soaring energy bills, having already watered down its pre-election pledge to cap prices.

Energy firms have blamed price rises in the past 18 months on increases in green taxes to subsidise a switch to wind and solar power.

In the run up to the June General Election, the Conservatives promised and energy price cap, in a supposed departure from traditional Tory liberal economics which rejects state interference in the market.

The number of people in fuel poverty grew from 3.5m to 4m from 2015 to 2016 alone. This followed a government request to set out plans to help those placed on the poorest-value tariffs. "We want to see rapid progress on this commitment".

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