EDF Energy has become the second of the big six energy suppliers to raise prices this week, announcing a 1.4% increase for more than a million customers.
The French state-owned supplier will raise dual fuel bills for 1.3m customers on standard variable tariffs, increasing the average bill by £16 to £1,158.
The increase is relatively modest compared to the above-inflation 5.5% rise that British Gas announced on Tuesday, triggering government criticism.
Comparison sites said the move by British Gas had paved the way for other suppliers to put up prices, and urged households to switch.
“Clearly the price rise from British Gas earlier this week has opened the floodgates and we’re now officially in price rise season,” said Stephen Murray, at price comparison site MoneySuperMarket.
EDF blamed the rise on a significant increase wholesale energy costs, as well as government policies such as clean energy subsidies, which have to be paid through energy bills. It said the rollout of smart meters, a government policy carried out by energy suppliers, had also contributed.
Béatrice Bigois, managing director of customers at EDF, said: “We know that price rises are not welcome and we have worked to offset rising energy and policy charges by cutting our own costs.”
The firm added that 59% of its customers would not be affected, limiting the rise to 1.3 million households, because they are on fixed or protected tariffs. The increase comes ahead of the government’s plans for a price cap on standard variable tariffs, but that is not expected to take effect until the end of the year.
While relatively small compared to British Gas in terms of customer numbers, EDF is a big player in UK electricity generation. The government has guaranteed the company twice the current wholesale cost of power for electricity from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, which EDF hopes to complete by 2025, a timetable which experts said this week was in doubt because of problems at a similar French plant.