SSE is hiking electricity prices as energy firm follows Npower, EDF, Eon and Scottish Power

 
Lynsey Barber
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SSE is the latest energy provider to raise prices (Source: Getty)

Customers of SSE can expect a rise in their electricity bill as the energy company announces its first price rise in three years.

A rise of 14.9 per cent will kick in from 28 April due to the increasing price of wholesale electricity across the market.

On average, it expects customers' electric bills on a dual fuel plan to rise by less - 6.9 per cent, or £73 a year - a move the energy firm said it deeply regretted.

The slight bit of good news is that gas bills will remain the same.

Read more: Why competition (not price caps) is the solution to lower energy bills

“This is the first increase since 2013 and we’ve worked hard to keep them down for as long as possible by cutting our own costs, putting in place a winter price freeze and holding gas prices, but we have seen significant increases in electricity costs which are outside our control," said SSE managing director for retail Will Morris.

"Without an increase we would have been supplying electricity to domestic customers at a loss."

SSE isn't the only one to have to raise its prices - it's the last of the big six energy firms to announce its intentions.

SSE follows other energy firms

It follows a 15 per cent rise for standard tariff prices by Npower in February, and a 4.8 per cent rise for gas prices, with dual fuel customers experiencing a rise of 9.8 per cent on average.

EDF customers got an 8.4 per cent rise for electricity and a 5.2 per cent cut to gas prices, giving those on dual fuel plans an average rise of 1.2 per cent.

Eon gas prices are inching up 3.8 per cent and electricity is climbing 13.8 per cent. That's an average rise of 8.8 per cent for dual fuel.

And finally, Scottish Power customer bills will rise 4.7 per cent for Gas and 10.8 per cent for electricity working out as a 7.8 per cent increase on average for dual fuel tariffs.

British Gas has frozen its prices until August - for now.

Read more: Another energy firm has hiked prices - and ministers are "prepared to act"

The reaction

But money expert and consumer champion Martin Lewis said the latest rise paints a grim picture.

“We now have a true level playing field for comparison, as SSE is the last of the big six firms to announce its pricing intentions," he said.

“Five have announced hikes, and British Gas is freezing prices until August, and will, I suspect, increase prices then.

“And the picture is grim - everyone on a standard tariff from the big six, including British Gas, is being ripped off. A typical SSE customer will see their bills jump from £1,068 to £1,129 a year, pretty similar to the rest of the firms after hikes."

He added: “Our cheapenergyclub.com shows the cheapest tariff on the market would cost you £834 for exactly the same, and all the cheap deals are one-year fixes, so you’re guaranteed no price hikes.”

The government has made noises on the issue, saying it's prepared to act if markets don't work for consumers and that it's "concerned" by the hikes.

But SSE said that in addition to the rising wholesale costs, today's hike for consumers is also a result of having to deliver upgrades to energy infrastructure and a ove towards low carbon energy as part of government programmes.

USwitch called the rise a "double whammy".

"The big six have laid their cards on the table and they are stacked against energy customers. This price rise is a double whammy - not only is SSE the second largest energy supplier but it also has the highest proportion of customers sitting on its standard variable tariff," said energy expert Claire Osborne.

"The danger now is that talk of government intervention will lull consumers into a false sense of security when they should be voting with their feet and getting themselves a cheaper deal today. A cap on an expensive tariff would be far from a silver bullet, and in reality would likely make things worse. It would remove any motivation whatsoever for these major suppliers to try to retain their customers, whether by offering the lowest possible prices or exceptional service.

She added: “Suppliers need to feel the pressure of competition - the real threat of their customers leaving them - to have any incentive to offer good value."

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