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British Gas increases prices by 6%

British Gas prices to rise by 6% from 16th November adding £80 to the average bill. They say use less if you want to save money. We say shop around too.

It's taken longer than we expected to be announced but British Gas have now followed SSE's example and raised their standard tariff rates by about 6%. The increase is to take effect from 16th November adding £80 to the "average” dual fuel bill taking it to £1318 per year.

Speaking on the Today program this morning, Phil Bentley managing director of British Gas defended their increase saying much of the money would be going towards important investment rather than increased profits. Though with their 23% increase in profits for the first half year and dividends increased by 8% perhaps that should be taken with a pinch of salt.

"These are important investments. Investment in the infrastructure of Britain, the grid, is what will keep the lights on, and investment in all the green energy. Energy efficiency and green economy not only creates jobs but it also helps our homes to become more energy efficient and that's the best way of keeping bills down.”

Of the £80 increase, £25 would be going towards network improvements, £25 to government renewables obligations including meeting green energy and energy efficiency targets. The final £30 reflects increases in the wholesale forward energy prices.

Similar moves are predicted from EDF, Scottish Power and npower. Of the big six, only E-On have promised no increases this year (so that'll be January then). Meanwhile, all have been busy replacing their fixed price tariffs with more expensive versions over the last couple of months.

The cheapest fixed price tariffs still available are from the smaller companies (though this may depend on your location) first:utility's iSave Fixed Price v4 March 2014 and Ovo energy's New Energy Fixed. Ovo's offering has been around since 29th June which in the current marketplace is quite a long time, so may not be available much longer.

Someone has to pay for investment in the energy transmission infrastructure. Someone has to pay for generous feed-in tariffs for those with south facing roofs and solar panels; carbon reduction targets; green energy initiatives; wind farms and sponsor "Energy Saving Week” (from 22nd Oct). Unfortunately, it's all of us through our energy bills.

Big savings can still be made by making sure you are on the best energy tariff for you. If enough of British Gas' 8.5m customers moved they might even have reassess their rates.