Fuel-poor customers hit by British Gas price hike

British Gas has been slammed for scrapping the UK’s cheapest energy tariff. The move will see the utility giant’s most fuel-poor customers face a £305 hike on their annual energy bill.

British Gas pulled the tariff, Click Energy Five, last night (October 1) and will bring the average energy bill of customers on the plan up from £845 to £1,150 per year.

USwitch consumer policy director, Anne Robinson, says: “This is a blow for cash-strapped consumers who have just seen the most competitive energy deal disappear from under their noses.”

The utility company says the price change “represents a delay” to the increase it announced in July and “is the result of escalating wholesale energy costs”.

A British Gas spokesman adds: “The best way to combat higher energy prices is for all of us to be more energy efficient and we are contacting all our customers to show how they can save money to try and offset this price rise.”

British Gas raised its gas prices by 35% and its electricity prices by 9% in July this year.

The move comes as ministers said today that they would continue to fight against fuel poverty. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn is holding meetings with energy suppliers and the home insulation industry to discuss how to speed up work on increasing energy efficiency in UK homes.

The Government recently announced a £1bn home energy saving programming to increase fuel efficiency and help for vulnerable households.

The Environment Secretary says: “Since that announcement the Government has launched a major advertising campaign to encourage energy efficiency and advise people of assistance available. This has resulted in almost 57,000 calls to our CO2 helpline in the fortnight since the announcement.”

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