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A few hours after British Gas announced their 6% price rise last Friday, npower joined in with a massive 9% increase to their standard tariff prices. The increase will take effect from 26th November.
Like British Gas, npower blame increasing costs forced upon them by government such as funding improvements to the national grid, funding wind turbines and meeting energy efficiency targets as well as increasing rising futures energy prices. Paul Massara, npower's chief commercial officer said:
"There is never a good time to increase energy bills, particularly when so many people are working hard to make ends meet. But the costs of new statutory schemes, increases in distribution charges and the price of gas for the coming winter are all being driven up by external factors, for example government policy. Although we have managed to smooth out the worst fluctuations and protect our customers for as long as we can, we are now having to pass on some of these costs.”
The rises will affect 3 million of npower's customers from the 26th November, a further 500,000 being protected in the short term by fixed rate deals.
Energy suppliers are obliged to write to customers at least 30 days before making changes to a contract that would leave customers worse off – like price increases. During this time customers, under supply licence condition 23, can change supplier without paying an exit fee. You must notify your supplier before the new price comes into effect to take advantage of this.
However, don't forget npower operate a system where discounts for paying by Direct Debit and taking dual fuels do not get paid until the 12th month of the contract. These discounts can easily be up to £100, so though they may have to waive exit fees, you could still lose valuable discounts.