British Gas, one of UK's big six energy suppliers, has said it is freezing gas and electricity prices until August. British Gas said it was able to hold tariffs in the face of higher wholesale prices by reducing its internal costs. However, Scottish Power has said it is raising its dual fuel prices by an average of 7.8% from 31 March. Scottish Power blamed smart meters and low carbon energy costs for its rise. Earlier this month, Npower announced it was raising its prices.
The new energy price cap will come into force on 1 January, saving 11 million customers an average of £76 a year on their gas and electricity bills. Regulator Ofgem has set the final level of the cap at £1,137 a year for a typical dual fuel customer paying their bill by direct debit. It means suppliers will have to cut the price of their default tariffs to the level of the cap or below it. The cap level will be updated in April and October every year. Households in England, Scotland and Wales on default tariffs should be better off after the cap is introduced.
SSE has become the latest "big six" energy supplier to raise its prices. It said average electricity prices would rise by 14.9% from 28 April for 2.8 million customers. However, it will keep its gas prices unchanged. As a result, SSE said a typical dual fuel customer would see their annual bill rise by 6.9%, or £73. It blamed the increase on government policies that mean customers subsidise energy from renewable sources and the cost of smart meter installation.
The ReachTel poll, commissioned by Greenpeace, was released on Monday as progressive campaign group GetUp and environmentalists stepped up pressure on the Victorian and Queensland governments to block the national energy guarantee and business groups called for it to be approved. The federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, faces a difficult balancing act ahead of Friday's meeting with states and territories to discuss the national energy guarantee, which imposes reliability and emissions reduction obligations on power retailers from 2020. While Victoria, Queensland and the Labor-Greens government in the Australian Capital Territory are insisting on a mechanism for higher emissions reduction targets, Coalition conservatives have threatened to vote against it in the party room and in parliament if the emissions reduction component of the Neg is strengthened. A group of peak business groups – including the Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and National Farmers Federation – have weighed in to issue a joint call to "put aside politics and ideology" and support the Neg. "There can be no further delays.