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How will British Gas help those facing higher energy bills?

British Gas

British Gas has announced a 12.5% increase in its standard tariff electricity prices pushing up energy costs for 3.1 million households. What will British Gas be doing for those affected by the increase?

British Gas announced today that it will raise its electricity prices by 12.5% from 15 September. This move will push energy costs up for many of its 3.1 million customers on its standard tariff.

This increase brings the total cost for a typical household on a standard tariff to £1,120 per year.

Is it any wonder that hard-pressed consumers will be hugely disappointed to see prices rise again? No. These same customers have been waiting for the government and energy industry to tackle costly standard variable tariffs (SVTs) and instead they have seen their bills go up again.

A year of discontent

While this is the first price increase British Gas have announced in almost four years, it makes them the last of the Big Six to announce its price increases. In February both nPower and Scottish Power pushed up prices which we described as a ‘bitter pill’ and ‘shocking’. In March, SSE and E.On caused outrage when they pushed up their prices. EDF followed in April with its disappointing hike in prices. That disappointment in the energy industry grows today.

After two years of investigation into the energy market by the Competition and Markets Authority, Ofgem (seeking to implement remedies to tackle the problems in the market), and the Government (committing to ensure markets work for consumers and to reduce energy bills), nothing substantive has happened to bring down prices.

Time to engage customers

In November last year we asked energy companies to send us their plans for how they will ensure their customers stuck on poor value deals are moved. British Gas responded to this with its intention to contact those on its standard tariff.

Despite all the debate we are still in the same situation and the industry’s response has been inadequate

Given it was just over six months ago since suppliers outlined their plans to engage with customers on SVTs, we’d like to know what progress they have made in reaching out to the millions of people affected by prices rises, and what they are doing to help them all to get onto better deals? As a customer, will this news encourage you to switch or stay with British Gas?

Have you been contacted by your energy supplier about moving from their standard variable tariff?

No (82%, 827 Votes)

Yes (18%, 185 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,012

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However, in today’s announcement, British Gas did refer to engaging SVT customers. The supplier stated that it has submitted proposals to the Ofgem to phase out the standard variable tariff and ‘level the playing field so that all suppliers contribute to the Warm Home Discount”.

We all agree that this market is not working for consumers. The Government needs to urgently look at what it does to help customers that are paying over the odds. The discussion needs to end and we need to see definitive action.

Comments
Guest
Natalie Sheldon says:
3 August 2017

At the end of May ,I was contacted by British Gas advising me that my Fixed Price contract was ending , and offering me three options. Having read in the press that there was a likelihood that British Gas might be increasing their tariffs in September , I opted again for a contract with my tariff fixed from June for 12 months , and if prices were to be decreased during that time , my tariff would correspondingly drop also and remain fixed until the end of the 12 month contract.

Guest
John Cunningham says:
3 August 2017

Each supplier should have a simple price structure per unit for domestic electricity and for gas which consumers can directly compare with other suppliers to enable a straightforward choice to be made. Only actual producers of electricity should be selling it, and similarly for gas. It is absolute nonsense that a supplier can, for example, purchase gas from a producer and then sell it to consumers at a cheaper price than the producer. There is something which seems very corrupt where that happens. If there is to be a free and open market then it should be one in which there is genuine and transparent competition. As matters stand no supplier can be trusted and the market cannot be trusted. If Ford was seen to be selling cars made by Vauxhall for lower prices than the actual manufacturer that would be seen as utterly stupid and would lack any credibility. How, therefore, can it possibly be acceptable for a gas producer to buy and then sell electricity to customers at a lower price than the original manufacturer? Something is clearly rotten in the state of Britain’s energy market, and this has been so ever since de-nationalisation took place. The entire market needs to be re-structured to rid us of the current “fake competition” situation in which only the consumer loses out.

Guest
Frances Berry says:
12 August 2017

I do not have my electricity with British gas, only the gas so at the moment I will stay

Guest

There is no completion in the energy market. Everyone says change supplier but it makes no difference. Just look over the last six years BG will increase its prices and within the next four months all the others have also increased their prices, so you have gone through all the hassle to be stuck again with another supplier charging more. I do not want to change energy supplier every year because of the greed of these companies. They need to be regulated by the government because they are an essential commodity.

Guest

I posted earlier the differences that exist in annual costs between the major providers. An average user on a fixed price deal could pay between£873 and £1037 a year. So choosing your supplier does make a difference. Is it not worth spending a little time once a year on Which?Switch to make a saving?

Guest
William Maxwell says:
4 August 2017

I plan to stay with British (Scottish) Gas because I have a fixed rate deal which lasts until mid 2018 so that my price costs will not change. But once that deal ends then I shall seriously consider changing my supplier after analysing the current deals on offer in mid 2018.

Guest
Josie Smith says:
4 August 2017

The British gas company won’t help the most vunerable. They are only interested in profiteering. It’s time the British nation refused to play ball with these rip of merchants. It’s holding a gun at customers heads. Most of these profiteers should be languishing in jail as they are murdering people by exploiting cold weather conditions.

Guest
Richard Blakey says:
4 August 2017

Your email voting is flawed.
You ask if I am with British Gas will I stay….. Answer YES.
Then you ask if British Gas have contacted me re. SVT…. Answer NO.
Result doesn’t look good for British Gas BUT I am on a fixed tariff so my answers are will distort what you are really looking for.

In my case I will do what I always do, and everyone should do, which is to find the best tariff on the market for me when my fixed rate ends.

Guest

Hello Richard, thanks for your feedback. To reassure you we aren’t collecting information on how people are voting in the email question. We’re just trying to make sure that you’re receiving the right information from us.

Guest
C Varnham says:
6 August 2017

I do not have dual fuel. British Gas just supplies my gas. Will single fuel also be going up?

Guest

The only fuel covered in British Gas’s recent price rise announcement was electricity.

Guest
Ashley Robinson says:
31 August 2017

Hi I’m a pensioner on a very low income. I have Cancer and other medical problems I’m being treated for regularly. I have to decide weather to eat or stay warm. I have duel fuel from E.D.F, but get no help from them or from any other source what so ever. I’m afraid to get into debt so I stay with them and don’t know how to move to another supplier as they are all the same [money grabbers] and nothing will ever change . as for the government they are not fit for purpose, and do care about the ordinary people of this country [WHY ? should they as long as they get well paid.

Guest
Guest

I should have added Ashley if your circumstances are that bad you will be entitled to CTR- Council Tax Relief .You can apply to your local council , a key factor is if you qualify for pension credit. This is a government benefit and even if its 50P it automatically qualifies you to council tax relief , it does however come with conditions on your total income including any private pension and bank deposits of less than £16,000 (for a pensioner ) . If I was you I would contact your local council social work department for help , I should know I have been through all this but when I got a small increase in my private pension that put it a few ££ over the limit I lost my pension credit and was immediately notified by my local council that I would be liable to the full charge . If you didn’t know it before councils and HMG work hand in hand digitally wise.