It’s a bitter blow for consumers this week as the first of the Big Six energy suppliers announces considerable price rises, potentially paving the way for other providers to do the same.
SSE announced that it will be hiking up its prices by 8.2% for gas and electricity, which is equivalent to £111.
This will come into effect on 15 November this year – just as the cold weather really starts to bite – and will take SSE’s average standard dual fuel bill from £1,354 to £1,465.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: “This is a crippling blow for consumers, who are still reeling from last winter’s price hike.
“Adding a further £111 to an already sky-high energy bill will leave consumers buckling under the pressure. It’s the final nail in the coffin for affordable energy.”
This is SSE’s fourth price rice since December 2010, which has seen average dual fuel bills jump from £1,038 a year to £1,465 when the latest announcement is taken into account. This means that prices have soared by 41% in less than three years.
Last year, SSE pushed its gas and electricity prices up by 9.6%, adding £119 to annual bills.
Following this year’s round of price hikes, SSE has pledged not to increase its prices until autumn 2014.
The energy provider has blamed the rising cost of wholesale energy, Government imposed levies which are collected by energy bills and the increased cost of delivering energy to customers’ homes.
There is a danger that the first price rise of the year could spark a domino effect and encourage other suppliers to hike their prices, bringing more misery to consumers.
Ms Robinson added: “Of course the danger now is that the other big six suppliers will follow suit. This raises the spectre of yet more households forced to cut back on their heating.
“Last winter almost seven in ten households went without heating at some point to keep their energy costs down, while over a third said that cutting back on energy usage was affecting their quality of life or health. This is the grim reality we face as the cost of energy spirals ever higher.”
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