All eyes on the big energy firms after SSE hikes prices

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Energy firm SSE has announced that electricity and gas prices will rise by an average of 9% from October. Photo: PA Wire

Energy bills going up again - the first of the autumn rises.

More than 8 million customers of Britain's second largest supplier, SSE, face a price hike typically over £100 a year - now all eyes are on the other big energy firms.

Will more follow suit?

Though not doing TV interviews today Scottish and Sothern's chief executive, Ian Marchant, gave an internet message to customers. In it he blames three main factors:

  • Higher network charges (up 9%)
  • Higher wholesale costs (up 14%)
  • Government schemes (up 30%)

SSE also trades as southern electric, Scottish Hydro and Swalec. It says 8.4 million customers will pay at least £102 more on a typical dual fuel bill, bringing it to £1,274 a year.

As well as covering a 9% rise in actual energy costs that also incorporates a new £200 a year standing charge.

In the past, standing charges were an unpopular aspects of the energy industry, gradually replaced by two tier bills.

The first units charged at a higher rate - to cover costs other than the power you use (such as the pipelines).

Energy expert Anne Robinson from U-Switch told me she thinks standing charges will become far more common. The industry regulator, Ofgem, thinks they will make bills easier to understand.

The price pressures on SSE apply just as much to all the other power firms, so today's blow for family budgets sends a clear warning - energy bills are on the rise.