Hidden price hike looming for 100,000s of British Gas customers

British Gas has quietly broken a much-publicised promise to give hundreds of thousands of customers lower bills by keeping them off expensive standard tariffs, reveals the UK’s biggest consumer website, MoneySavingExpert.com.

Last year, British Gas vowed to "give customers a fairer, simpler deal and lower bills" by ending the practice of people automatically rolling onto pricey standard variable tariffs after their fixed deal ends. Instead British Gas moved them onto a slightly cheaper fixed-rate 'Temporary tariff' for 12 months – with 600,000 customers currently on one. 

But since 1 January, it has quietly U-turned on this pledge and has revised the terms and conditions of the 'Temporary tariff'. It now tracks the new energy price cap and is a variable rate. This latest move means it’s essentially the same as its expensive standard tariff, with the SAME high costs, just under a different name – and ultimately will result in more people seeing higher energy bills.

Any British Gas customer coming to the end of the original 12-month fixed ‘Temporary tariff’ will be rolled onto the new rate. Those who were first to be moved to it last April will see a huge 18% rise. For someone with typical usage, that means bills rocket by a whopping £190 a year on 1 May, from £1,064 to £1,254 a year.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "British Gas boasted it was changing, that it wanted to give ‘fairer, simpler, deals’ so that those coming off fixed tariffs wouldn’t be penalised for loyalty.

"Well that’s turned out to be balderdash, baloney and any other b words you can think of. That policy didn’t even last a year. They’re now back on its most expensive, standard tariff, just by a different name. And would you believe it – what a coincidence – this has happened just before the price cap, and, therefore British Gas’ standard price is being hiked by 10%.

"If you’re a British Gas customer, especially one not on a fixed rate tariff, you’re paying far, far more than you need to. For someone on typical use, other firms including those with better customer service ratings will charge you £250+ a year less, and it’s the same gas, the same electricity and the same safety. So the most effective way to complain is not to write, it’s to do a comparison, ditch and switch."