Four of the six major energy companies have refused to speculate on any further electricity price increases, following the announcement from British Gas that it intends to hike electricity costs by 12.5 per cent.
Npower, Eon, Scottish Power and Southern and Scottish Energy (SSE), all confirmed that they would monitor the current conditions of the market, before taking any action on their tariff charges.
In March this year, EDF increased its electricity prices by 8.4 per cent, while Npower pushed its standard tariff electricity prices up by 15 per cent, they were joined by Scottish Power’s standard electricity prices increase by an average of 10.8 per cent.
This was followed by Eon, who announced an uptick on their electricity prices by an average of 13.8 per cent in April, in the same month SSE, revealed that they would increase their electricity bills rise by 14.9 per cent.
Peter Haigh, managing director of Bristol Energy, said: “I think the rest of the Big Six put their prices up early in the year, which is why we feel is that there is no justification for a price rise of this magnitude at this time. There’s nothing in the wholesale market that we can see that would prompt an increase of 12.5 per cent.”
“Looking at the customer perspective, we offer a fair deal to all our customers. We can do that, why can’t they? We will not consider rising prices at the moment, we look at the market and offer the best deal we can.”
“I think the fairest way is to implement a remedy to stop customers being ripped off, it’s bad for the industry. The customers that have been loyal to the same supplier should have some form of cap that prices don’t go up, even if they decide to switch supplier. Customers are being suffering penalisation for their loyalty.”
But Anna Moss, Cornwall Insight domestic team leader, commented that the British Gas rise was “not unexpected”.
“In April 2017 new policy costs came into effect, rising by 32 per cent since the same time last year,” said Moss. “Alongside this wholesale costs are still recovering since the price spike which was experienced from December 16 to March 17.”
She added: “Electricity prices have only just returned to the same level that they were in September 2016, whereas gas remains around 6 per cent above its price prior to the spike.”
The market intelligence company also believe that small and medium suppliers will see this as an opportunity to gain market share, and may update their tariffs in the coming weeks to capitalise on the increase in switching, which is likely to occur.
This is made more likely by the level of media coverage, and small supplier advertising, as happened with last set of price rises in 2013.