Ebico hikes some customers' bills by £100/year
Energy supplier Ebico is ending its variable, zero-standing charge tariff, and moving all 46,000 customers on it to a higher priced deal – blaming Ofgem's incoming price cap for the move.
The change will hit customers on the Ebico Zero tariff – one of the few deals on the market without standing charges – on Thursday 29 November.
Customers will be moved on to Ebico Standard, and will see prices rise by 8.4% on average, adding £98/year to a typical dual-fuel bill.
The supplier is laying the blame on regulator Ofgem's price cap – which it says makes offering the zero standing charge tariff "no longer commercially viable".
The price cap – which is set to come in this December – will place a limit on what suppliers can charge their customers on standard variable and default fixed tariffs.
What is a standing charge?
Standing charges cover the costs of providing gas and electricity to your home – such as the cost of keeping your home connected to grid, meter readings and maintenance.
You usually pay this through a daily charge, and then pay for each unit of gas and electricity you use on top of this.
With zero standing charge tariffs, you just pay for what you use – though the gas and electricity rates you do pay are typically higher.
Zero standing charge tariffs aren't for everyone – they work best when you have very low use, or your home is empty for long periods. See our 'Zero Standing Charge Tariffs' explainer.
How are prices changing?
The rates you were paying for gas and electricity on Ebico Zero are actually staying the same – the supplier is simply adding a daily standing charge to both fuels.
On average, this adds around £52/year to the electricity bill, and a further £46/year to a customer's gas bills.
For a typical dual-fuel fuel household, this means prices will rise from £1,161/year to £1,259/year.
At the same time, the supplier – which has around 61,000 customers in total – is also increasing the price of its standard variable tariff, known as Ebico Evergreen, by 8.1%, adding £97/year to a typical bill on average.
What can I do?
The Ebico Zero tariff, and the Ebico Standard tariff you'll soon be rolled onto, have no exit fees, so you're free to switch at any point. You've got until Thursday 29 November to switch if you want to avoid the higher prices.
The supplier still offers a zero standing charge tariff – called Ebico Zero Green Fixed v2 – though it's a more expensive fixed tariff. However, it has no exit fees – so it's largely the same as Ebico Zero, apart from the price.
Ebico said customers who want to move onto the Ebico Zero Green Fixed should use their online account portal and complete the form that is being forwarded to all those currently on the Zero variable plan. There's also a special helpline on 0800 953 9597.
'No longer commercially viable'
Ebico chief executive Phil Levermore explained: "Unfortunately, with the price cap coming into force by the end of December, it's no longer commercially viable for us to continue to offer our zero standing charge energy deal as a variable tariff.
"Instead, we've created a 12-month fixed-term zero standing charge deal with no exit fees, called 'Ebico Zero Green Fixed', so that customers can continue to take advantage of a great energy plan for those who use relatively small amounts of energy in their home.
"From the 29th November, the variable plan will have a standing charge added and so will be renamed 'Ebico Standard'. Our customers who have already switched to Ebico Zero Green Fixed are not affected by these changes."