Challenger brands have been accused of following the big six’s lead and hiking up energy prices, following the announcement of a new cap level.

An analysis by the website uswitch.com claims many smaller suppliers have increased their standard variable tariffs (SVTs) in line with Ofgem’s revised price cap on default tariffs of £1,254 which will come into effect on 1 April.

All big six energy suppliers have already raised their SVTs in line with the cap increase.

The analysis claims 15 million standard credit and prepayment customers have already had a £1.7 billion price rise confirmed for April.

It adds Ovo Energy customers on standard variable tariffs will see a 10 per cent rise in April, which will also affect customers on its white label brands, including Peterborough Energy, Fairerpower and Southend Energy.

It also claims Bristol Energy, Tonik and TOTO have announced increases of up to £144 for their credit meter standard variable customers, while prepayment customers with Bristol Energy, First Utility, Tonik and TOTO will see their bills increase by up to £108 per year.

Co-op Energy and Ebico have also both announced price hikes following Ofgem’s decision to increase its cap.

But as previously reported by Utility Week, challenger supplier Bulb is bucking the trend with an average £20 per year price cut.

“Challenger energy suppliers have largely followed the trend set by the Big Six and announced hikes to their standard tariffs,” said uswitch.com’s energy expert, Rik Smith.

“Against this backdrop, Bulb’s decision to cut prices is all the more eye-catching.

“Since Ofgem raised the level of the price cap, price increases have been confirmed by all of the big six plus nine smaller providers. More will likely follow suit before the bill hikes take effect on 1 April,” added Smith.