Customers, Strategy & management

SSE has increased the cost of its standard electricity tariff by 14.9 per cent as supply costs rise relentlessly

Big six energy company SSE has announced a 6.9 per cent increase to its standard dual fuel tariff.

The supplier is the latest in a string of energy companies who have said that increasing costs mean passing price hikes on to customers is inevitable.

SSE has blamed to price rise on increasing electricity prices. It will hold the price of its standard gas tariff steady, but will increase its standard electricity tariff by 14.9 per cent.

This will average out to a 6.9 per cent increase for dual fuel customers, equating to an additional £73 a year on bills.

The changes will come into effect on 28 April and will impact around 2.8 million SSE customers.

In addition to the high wholesale cost of electricity, SSE said that higher costs associated with delivering “vital” government programmes, were behind its announcement.

These programmes, which are “designed to upgrade Britain’s ageing energy infrastructure and help the country move towards a low carbon future” are “levied predominantly against electricity customers,” it explained.

Alongside news of its price rise, SSE also announced the launch of a £5 million fund to assist the fuel poor.

Will Morris, managing director for retail at SSE said that this fund will provide a boost to the £46m that SSE already spends helping customers through the Warm Home Discount.

“Anyone worried should contact our advisors so we can ensure they benefit from any support available to them,” he advised.

Morris also said that SSE “deeply” regrets the need to announce its price increase.

“This is the first increase since 2013,” he said, but “we have seen significant increases in electricity costs which are outside our control. Without an increase we would have been supplying electricity to domestic customers at a loss.”

Npower was the first energy supplier to announce a price hike this year. Since it’s announcement, a range of suppliers have followed suit including Eon, Co-op Energy, Ecotricty and First Utility.

Centrica is the only supplier to have announced a continued freeze on its standard energy prices.

All the suppliers who have increased their prices have blamed the high wholesale cost of energy and the impact of government social and environmental programmes.

Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said in January that he did not believe suppliers could justify price hikes. But following a recent update to the regulator’s Supplier Cost Index prompted an Ofgem spokesperson said it showed “that costs have continued to increase in 2017 particularly as a result of rising wholesale prices. If cost increases are sustained, even suppliers who bought energy in advance when prices were cheaper will be affected.”