Tuesday 19 February 2019 10:37 am

British Gas the fourth of the Big Six energy suppliers to boost prices after Ofgem’s price cap

British Gas, the country's biggest energy supplier, becomes the fourth of the Big Six energy companies to raise its prices after Ofgem, the energy regulator, increased the price cap on gas and electricity bills.

Customers of British Gas can expect the standard variable tariff to increase by £117 for 3.5m customers starting 1 April.

Stephen Murray, an energy expert at Moneysupermarket, said: “The UK’s biggest energy supplier has the largest number of customers on standard variable tariffs and today’s announcement means it is instantly adding a cumulative £409m to those customers’ bills.”

British Gas's increase was preceded by Eon, EDF, and Npower instituting price increases last week, with Scottish Power and SSE being the only suppliers out of the Big Six to not announce increases.

The rise in gas prices is a result of Ofgem setting the level of the energy price cap at £1,254 for April-October 2019.

Murray said that the government regulator's price cap was meant to deliver a “fairer price on energy bills” and protect people from being “ripped off by suppliers”.

Now that the cap is rising by £117, Murray advised that consumers consider switching providers.

“It takes five minutes to switch and you could save £250 or more today on your annual bills, simply by moving to a more competitive tariff with a Big Six or emerging supplier,” he said.

Npower hiked prices for customers on its standard variable tariff by 10 per cent last week.

The government’s energy price cap was meant to save customers from rip off deals.

Read more: Ofgem price cap: What to do if your energy bills shoot up

Npower customers who pay direct debit on its standard variable tariff will see the cost of a typical dual fuel energy bill increase 10.3 per cent or £117 a year on average from 1 April.

The company said: “Our gas and electricity prices are changing because of the price cap, which has been put in place to protect customers on default tariffs, or on tariffs with (or linked to) standard variable rates.”

Read more: Eon front of the queue as energy suppliers eye price rises

Alex Neill, managing director of home services at consumer group Which, said: “People who thought that the price cap would protect them from rising bills will be bitterly disappointed by these hikes.

“We would urge all energy customers to take the power back into their hands by switching and securing a better deal before the new cap comes into effect in April. While there are fewer cheap deals on the market than a year ago, by switching today you could choose better customer service and potentially save almost £300 a year compared to the forthcoming price cap level.”