Mark Todd, director at Energyhelpline.com, said: “This is a total shock and will come as a massive blow to cash-strapped consumers praying for price cuts – not rises. It’ll be a double whammy, arriving just as the cold weather kicks in.
“This price hike will add £102 a year to the average dual fuel bill paid by monthly direct debit. That’s a jump from £1,172 to £1,274. Customers on other payment methods are likely to be hit by even bigger rises.
“A nine per cent increase is more than three times the price cut that SSE implemented last winter. Sadly, it seems the energy market is back to its old ways of tiny price cuts, followed by big price hikes.
“Wholesale prices seemed to have been dropping over the last few months so we were expecting suppliers to pass these savings on to customers. How wrong could we be? It seems you can’t keep the UK energy market down, unfortunately.
“The track record is that other Big Six suppliers will follow suit. This is a very strange price rise though and has caught everyone by surprise. E.ON has committed to hold prices all year so at least they won’t be following anytime soon. But it’s worth remembering that British Gas and ScottishPower both warned of possible price rises earlier in the year.
“We had seen a few small price cuts lately from Ovo, Good Energy and EDF but the fact is that even the cheapest tariffs have jumped by almost 20 per cent in the last two years. The sad truth is that bills just keep on rising.
“We would recommend that now is the time to switch to a fixed rate tariff to protect against any further price rises and get on a low rate for the winter. The best deal currently costs £1,040 a year, fixed until 2014. That’s £224 cheaper than the new SSE dual fuel rate.”
It is pretty clear that now is the right time for customers to switch to tariffs which hold their prices down, indeed, Scottish Power, EDF and M&S all have tariffs which promise to hold their current prices right up to the end of 2013 and beyond.
After this latest price hike by SSE, coupled with warnings from Scottish Power and British Gas, domestic customers are very strongly advised to switch to fixed or capped tariffs right away before the rest of the UK’s domestic fuel providers follow suit. To not do so now would be opening the door to higher bills this coming winter and beyond, at a time when they can least afford it.
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