Nearly 1 million households will see their energy bills jump by £63 a year after Scottish Power became the fourth of the big six suppliers to raise their prices.
The 5.5% increase on a typical dual fuel bill for 960,000 customers is the same percentage rise as British Gas announced earlier this month and higher than ones from E.ON and EDF. The increase takes affect on 1 June and will affect about a third of Scottish Power’s customers.
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SSE and Npower are the only two other big energy firms yet to declare a price rise, before the government’s planned cap on standard tariffs later this year.
Scottish Power, which is owned by the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, blamed the same reasons as other big suppliers: rising wholesale cost, government schemes levied on energy bills and the rollout of smart meters.
Neil Clitheroe, chief executive of retail at the firm, said: “Unfortunately our standard variable prices are increasing. This reflects rising wholesale energy costs and compulsory non-energy costs. Two-thirds of our customers are unaffected.
“We will be contacting all customers affected by the price change to give them the opportunity to move to a fixed-price-tariff alternative and avoid this increase.”
Among the big six, Scottish Power has the lowest proportion of customers on poor value, standard tariffs. The company said two thirds of customers would be unaffected.
Comparison sites said the latest rise should come as no surprise after other big players had already broken ranks. British Gas, owned by Centrica, was attacked by politicians for what they called an unjustified increase.
“Today’s announcement of a 5.5%rise from Scottish Power may not sound like a big one but it’s the equivalent of £63 a year, on top of what households are already paying if they’re on a standard variable tariff,” Stephen Murray, energy expert at Moneysupermarket, said.
Ofgem recently raised a price cap on 5 million vulnerable households and before the government’s wider price cap for 11 million households on standard variable tariffs. That ceiling is due to take effect before the end of the year.
EDF Energy announced a 1.4% increase for more than 1 million customers earlier this month. The French state-owned supplier will raise dual fuel bills for 1.3m customers – nearly 40% of EDF’s total – on standard variable tariffs, increasing the average bill by £16 to £1,158.
E.ON was the first of the major energy firms to put up prices this year, announcing in March that about 1 million households would face higher gas and electricity bills from 19 April.
The average annual increase was £22 but one in four households on the firm’s standard variable tariff (SVT) will have to pay an extra £50 a year.
E.ON is not increasing the unit price of electricity and gas but is removing £30 worth of dual fuel and paperless discounts for customers on standard variable tariffs, meaning they will see a rise of 2.6%, taking a typical annual bill to £1,153.