At the start of February 2017, npower hit the headlines when it announced significant increases to its standard tariffs that will affect customers on these rates. The rises, 15% for electricity and 4.8% for gas will come into effect on March 16th – adding £109, or 9.8% to an average dual fuel energy bill.

npower is the first company to announce its price rises and is unlikely to be the only one this winter, as the other providers such as British Gas are expected to follow suit.

The npower position

In its statement, npower pointed out that these were the first increases it had implemented since the autumn of 2013 and that only 50% of its customers – those on standard tariffs – would be affected.

It argued that it faces multiple cost pressures that have led to it needing to increase prices. Firstly, the price of energy on the wholesale market – essentially where npower buys the energy it then supplies have increased markedly – by 36% since last April.

The scheme to roll out smart energy meters in line with Government and EU requirements have also added expense, as have obligations under renewable energy policy – so plenty of reasons behind the prices rises, but what does it mean for you?

Responses from the industry and politicians

The response to these rises (for electricity the largest since 2008) has been swift and fierce from most quarters. Ofgem, the energy regulator, called upon npower to justify the increases, arguing that energy suppliers buy their energy at so-called ‘forward prices’, much lower than current wholesale rates.

The government also criticised the rises saying it was “concerned” that the plans would hit customers “who are already paying more than they need to.” They also added that they were “prepared to act” where markets don’t work for the customer.

Switching – the way to avoid these increases

There is a way to avoid these increases and that’s to switch to a fixed tariff. Incredibly, two thirds of households remain on suppliers expensive standard variable tariffs. Ofgem believes that the average customer could save £240** on their bills by switching from a standard tariff to one of the cheaper fixed deals from an alternative supplier. 

It isn’t difficult to switch.

Switching these days is so much easier than you might think. In as little as 21 days, thanks to the Energy Switch Guarantee, you should be getting your electricity, gas or both from a new supplier at a cheaper price.

All you need for an accurate assessment of how much you could save on your energy is an old bill from your current supplier. Enter a few details here with us today and in just a few minutes you could be well on your way to saving a significant amount of money.

So don’t sit back and accept increases in your energy bills. Switch supplier, fix your tariff and you could save money on your electricity and gas bills. It really is that simple, try it today and compare energy prices at comparethemarket.com.

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