British Gas has announced that the price of its standard variable tariff will be increasing by an average of 5.5% from 29 May 2018, affecting more than four million customers.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com and cheapenergyclub.com, comments on the price hikes
“Millions of customers will rightly be furious with British Gas when they hear the news of this price hike – yet some of the ire must also be turned upon themselves. We live in a market where the ‘do-somethings’ pay far less than the ‘do-nothings’. For someone with typical use, British Gas customers can save over £350/year by ditching and switching, and many firms who are far cheaper have vastly better customer service ratings. Therefore the message is plain. If you do nothing you WILL be taken advantage of.
“Yet the real question here is how do we protect vulnerable customers who, rather than apathetic, are unable to switch due to confusion, lack of online access or fear. The flaccid price cap we have in place for them only reduces their costs by a relatively trivial £70.This means that a wealthy, savvy man like me who switches regularly pays far less to boil a kettle than a struggling 90 year old grandmother - a curse of our energy market no one is fixing.”
Martin Lewis on whether other Big 6 firms will follow suit
“Normally when we see British Gas announce price hikes, like bleating sheep the other energy companies follow suit. That’s a more difficult call to make this time, because British Gas’ standard tariff was the cheapest of the Big Six and even after this rise isn’t quite the most expensive.Yet on balance I suspect we will see some of the others follow suit, not solely because of cost increases, but because in a PR sense, now British Gas will face the full first-mover flak, they can sneak in afterwards knowing it’ll be less of a hit.”