British Gas price hike ‘could leave households in the cold’

Households in the UK were dealt another blow yesterday when British Gas announced it will increase its prices for domestic customers.

The hike feat…

Households in the UK were dealt another blow yesterday when British Gas announced it will increase its prices for domestic customers.

The hike features a 9.2 per cent leap in dual fuel bills, with gas rising by 8.4 per cent and electricity jumping by 10.4 per cent.

It means the average annual household bill will go up by £123, which could push families to the brink, especially those lumbered with high levels of debt.

Consumers are now being urged to switch their tariff if they can in order to find the best deal. Energy is one of the biggest expenditures that leave people's bank accounts and finding an affordable deal is essential in order to make sure books are balanced.

However, cheap energy appears to be a thing of the past as the so-called big six utility firms all start to hike up their prices.

SSE has already increased its prices by an average of 8.2 per cent and the other companies are all likely to follow suit, meaning customers will be making very tough decisions this winter.

Some regions will be hit worse than others, with the largest average increase in a dual-fuel bill is 11.2 per cent in the north of Scotland, while the smallest is a 6.8 per cent rise in the south west of England.

British Gas blamed rising wholesale energy costs and government green levies, and ministers appear to be powerless in stopping companies raising their tariffs, in some cases by more than triple the rate of inflation.

Prime minister David Cameron said he was disappointed with British Gas' announcement and encouraged people who are not happy with the service and price of their current provider to go to switching sites online and see if they can find a better deal.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy has called for other energy firms to keep their prices down.

"This is another blow in a very difficult period for people who are already battling to keep afloat, and manage sky-high transport and food costs. Consumers will now be paying over the odds just to keep their homes warm over the next few months," she added.

By Amy White

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