The energy company has made the apparently "difficult decision" to raise prices by an average of 8.4% on gas and 10.4% on electricity. That means the average annual bill, according to Ofgem's definition of average use, would jump from £1,321 to £1,444 – an increase of £123.
However, it did make sure to point out 500,000 of its elderly and most vulnerable customers would benefit from an automatic discount, worth £60 per dual fuel household, to offset the price rise.
The price increase, which British Gas says will add around £2 a week to the average dual fuel bill, will kick in from 23rd November.
In a faintly patronising statement, Ian Peters, managing director of British Gas Residential Energy, said: "A price rise doesn't necessarily mean energy bills have to go up too. The amount you pay depends not just on price but on how much gas and electricity you use."
So there you have it: counter the average 9% bill rise by wearing more jumpers when it gets cold!
Why bills are rising
British Gas has blamed three things for this latest price rise:
- Network charges: the cost of delivering energy to homes is going up, and British Gas is having to pass that extra cost on to its customers;
- Environmental and social obligations: in other words the Government's 'green taxes';
- Wholesale energy: the cost at which it acquires the energy which it then sells on to us has gone up and it cannot absorb those rises any longer.
However, the headline figures are just the averages across the British Gas network. The actual price rise you see may be different depending on your region, as the table below demonstrates.
British Gas blames these variations on the network costs it has to pay for actually transporting the energy to the homes in these areas.
Scottish Hydro Electric
The Big Six
The energy market in the UK is dominated by six big players: British Gas, EDF, E.ON, npower, SSE and Scottish Power. And once one announces price rises, the rest tend to follow.
SSE was the first to go last week, announcing that it was hiking prices by an average of 8.2% from 15th November. It's only a matter of time before the rest move, so if you want to avoid those price rises, moving to a fixed tariff is probably a smart move.
Some tariffs now allow you to fix your energy bills for the next four winters. So if you want that sort of certainty, take a look at the tariffs below:
Savings vs. typical bill**
Fixed until 31st March 2017
Fixed until 31st March 2017
Fixed until 31st December 2016
£25 per fuel before the end of fix
Fixed until 31st January 2016
£30 per fuel until end of fix
Fixed until 31st July 2015
£50 per fuel until end of fix
**Savings against an average bill of £1,420 as determined by Ofgem
Compare gas and electricity prices and see if you could save