Centrica Ups Main GB Tariff
Britain's main gas and electricity retailer is raising its most widely available tariff.
Centrica said August 8 that its 'British Gas Standard Variable Tariff' (SVT), which was withdrawn for all new customers on March 31, will increase for existing customers on October 1 by 3.8%.
It said 3.5mn customers will be affected, with the average bill for a typical dual fuel customer to £1205 ($1560), which it said was just below the average of the SVTs for the larger energy suppliers, and represents an increase of £44. Centrica said its 2.4mn retail customers on fixed price products would be unaffected by this price increase.
"We are increasing our prices because of an approximately 20% rise in the costs of buying wholesale energy since April," Centrica said. The five other main UK energy retailers have also raised prices recently, citing similar factors. Centrica recently said that, year on year, it lost 1% of UK customer accounts in first half 2018. That slowdown of the rate at which it has lost customers now risks being reversed.
Centrica May Lose Top Ranking
Competitors SSE and Innogy plan to merge their UK retail businesses. As of September 2017, SSE and Innogy-owned Npower supplied 11.5mn homes in Britain, just behind the market leader Centrica. Since the SSE-Innogy UK tie-up was announced, E.ON announced it plans to take over most of Innogy. That may mean three big UK rival retailers merge into one, eclipsing Centrica, unless the regulator intervenes.
Centrica though said that Britain's energy market is "increasingly competitive.... with more than 70 energy supply businesses now operating in the UK." Many though are small and little-known.