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The “forgotten price rise”: up to 13.4m households* facing bigger energy bills when the heating goes back on this winter

17 October 2017

Swingeing price hikes announced in the spring are set to bite

  • Dual fuel standard variable rates increased by between 6.9% and 9.8%;
  • Shock for electricity customers with increases of up to 15%; 
  • Customers switching gas and electricity supplier could slash bills by as much as £256**.

GoCompare Energy is reminding millions of households to shop around for a better deal on their gas and electricity before the impact of price hikes, announced as far back as February, really start being reflected in their energy bills.

Autumn and winter are the biggest seasons for energy usage and, since the heating last went on in many households, all of the big six energy suppliers have increased their standard variable rates (SVRs), which could affect over 13 million households as the days grow colder and darker.

SVRs are the most common form of default energy tariff that people who do not switch will end up on. And they can be hundreds of pounds more expensive than the best deals on the market.   Despite this, 59% of households are on these tariffs.

Unless people on SVRs shop around for a cheaper tariff in the next few weeks, they will be unnecessarily burning a big hole in their finances this winter.

The big six energy suppliers (British Gas, E.On, EDF, Npower, SSE and ScottishPower) have increased the cost of their dual fuel SVRs by between 6.9% and 9.8%, while prices for electricity have increased by up to 15%:

 Big six supplier Price increase announced Effective date Dual fuel (increase %) Gas (increase %) Electricity (increase %)
 British Gas 1 August 2017 15 Sept 2017 7.3% 0% 12.5%
 EDF 12 April 2017 21 June 2017 7.2% 5.5% 9%
 SSE 13 March 2017 28 April 2017 6.9% 0% 14.9%
 E.On 7 March 2017 26 April 2017 8.8% 3.8% 13.8%
 Npower 3 February 2017 16 March 2017 9.8% 4.8%  15%
 ScottishPower 10 February 2017 31 March 2017 7.8% 4.7%  10.8%

Ben Wilson from GoCompare Energy commented: “Energy suppliers announced their price increases in the spring and summer, when the weather was warming up and the big winter bills had been dealt with, so there’s a good chance that millions of people would have done nothing about them.  By now, many of us have probably forgotten just how big some of these price increases were.

“Our advice to people paying on SVRs is to shop around now before the cold weather really sets in.  There are some very competitive fixed rate deals which could save you hundreds of pounds off your energy bills.  

“People who switched to a fixed energy deal this time last year also need to take note of the SVR price hikes.  Until now they’ve been unaffected by the recent rises, but once their fixed deals expire, they will be automatically rolled on to the more expensive SVRs unless they arrange another fixed deal.”

For more information on fixed energy rates see GoCompare's dedicated guide page.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*Source: Ofgem: Number of non-prepayment domestic customer accounts by supplier: standard variable tariffs (April 2017).

**Based on customers who provided their energy usage and received a price for switching energy supplier for both gas and electricity (dual fuel) using GoCompare during 01 Oct - 31 Dec 2016. At least 51% of customers who received a price for switching energy supplier for both gas and electricity with GoCompare saved £256 or more.