The increase, equating to £1.50 a week for customers, is blamed on rising wholesale prices.
British Gas last raised prices in August 2011, and today’s increase, due to come into effect from 16 November, follows in the footsteps of SSE, which warned in the summer its energy prices would rise.
British Gas managing director Phil Bentley admitted this morning he knew that household budgets were “under pressure”, but that he “simply cannot ignore the rising costs that are largely out of our control”.
He added: “Britain’s North Sea gas supplies are running out, and British Gas has to pay the going rate for gas in a competitive global marketplace.
“Furthermore, the investment needed to maintain and upgrade the national grid to deliver energy to our customers’ homes, and the costs of the Government’s policies for a clean, energy efficient Britain are all going up.”
British Gas’s parent company Centrica reported adjusted operating profits of £1.45bn, up 15 per cent, in the first half of the year. This included a 23 per cent rise in earnings from residential customers.