Shop around as energy bills rises twice this year  

 In Energy Bills, News

Householders should shop around now British Gas has announced its second price increase this year.

That’s the advice from green energy expert Ron Fox after the company said its standard variable tariff (SVT) would rise by 3.8% from October 1 with the average bill going up by £44 to £1,205 a year.

This will hit 3.5 million customers, although the SVT was withdrawn from new customers in March this year and the 2.4 million residents on fixed rates are unaffected.

The biggest energy supplier in the UK blamed a sharp increase in energy costs, but said its average bill was still just below that of other large energy suppliers.

Eon, SSE, Npower, EDF, Scottish Power and Bulb have all put up their energy prices this year blaming the wholesale market with gas prices up by 21% and electricity prices by 18% since April.

However, British Gas said it was trying to negate some of the prices rises by encouraging customers to switch from SVT to fixed-price deals.

In a double whammy Ofgem, the industry regulator, put up its price cap, which is the maximum providers can charge for vulnerable customers and those with pre-payment meters, for the second time this year.

They also blamed the wholesale market as they put up bills by up to £47 a year, a move which will affect five million households. Only six months ago they imposed a rise of £57 and some experts fear there could be a third increase of up to £68 in another six months’ time.

Now most suppliers are expected to increase their tariffs to the new maximum of £1,136 a year from October for those consumers.

Ironically the Government has ordered the industry regulator to introduce a cap for 11 million households on standard tariffs to stop sudden and significant hikes in prices.

“It just proves that the only way is up for energy bills,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park.

He also warned householders on fixed rates to act because if they don’t pick a new tariff when theirs finishes they will also face a 3.8% increase from October 1.

For those who want to shop around they should enter the tariff and energy usage from their most recent bill on a price comparison website which will suggest the cheapest supplier.

If they are happy they can organise the switch online and it should be completed within weeks with no interruption to supply.

“But,” Ron added, “there is one way to deal with this uncertainty on prices and to stop getting nasty surprises from energy companies. That is to swap to green energy using free sunlight.”

These include rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which change the sun’s energy into domestic electricity, and air source heat pumps, which work by absorbing heat from the atmosphere and converting this into power for the home.

For more advice on green energy contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk

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