E.ON has announced it will increase prices for most of its residential customers from February 4, the first rise the company has implemented since August 2008.
Standard prices will rise by 9% for electricity and 3% for gas. This will equate to 16p per day for the average dual fuel customer.
Of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers in the UK, EDF is now the only one which has not raised prices.
Graham Bartlett, managing director of E.ON’s Energy Solutions business, said: “We held off from increasing [prices] during the incredibly cold temperatures we saw in late November and December.
“But we now have no option but to make this change due to increases in the prices we pay for gas and electricity, although our customers won’t actually see the increases until next month.
“In fact, we’re even protecting our most vulnerable customers from this increase, with most unaffected until the winter’s over,and looking to help everyone where we can.”
The company claims that more than one in five customers are unaffected by today’s announcement as they are already on capped and fixed price products.
The rise will not be applied to E.ON’s most vulnerable customers on WarmAssist, for which there are no current plans to increase this tariff. For Age UK customers, the price rise is delayed until April
Richard Hall, energy expert at Consumer Focus, said:”E.ON’s customers will, sadly, not be shocked that it has followed in the footsteps of other suppliers’ price increases. However the fact that these rises aren’t unexpected won’t make it any easier for cash-strapped consumers to afford their higher bills.
“Consumers simply don’t trust that suppliers are asking them to pay a fair price for their energy. With high prices, a complex market, and consumers being asked to pay billions of pounds to improve our energy supply, it is essential that confidence in energy prices is improved. Ofgem’s review of the market needs to meet these high expectations.”
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “This is another blow to British households who are financially limping into 2011 following pre-Christmas price hikes and the New Year VAT increase.
“The struggle to meet winter fuel bills just keeps on getting harder, not helped by the fact that we’ve just seen the coldest December for 100 years.
“Of the big six suppliers, just EDF Energy has broken ranks with a price freeze until March 2011. This means its customers will at least be protected through the winter.”
However she added there is “a glimmer of hope that wholesale prices, which are the main driver behind price increases, will fall again in Spring”.
“If this happens consumers have every right to expect suppliers to be just as swift in cutting their prices back down again. However, there are no guarantees and a considerable amount of uncertainty going forward.”