London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — December 8, 2006 – British Gas is predicted to become the most expensive energy provider for 2007, both with its standard and online tariffs, as it confirms it will lift its ‘price freeze’ on January 8 next year. Online tariffs are, on average, 7% cheaper than the standard bills, but British Gas will lose that advantage under its plans to increase its price to £944 (US$1850) per year.
Consumers are likely to switch from Click Energy, British Gas’ online tariff, to a cheaper energy provider, since Click is now charging more than the standard tariffs from Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower, EDF Energy and Powergen.
The energy firm appears to be relying on customer loyalty to see it through the new year, but the price comparison and switching website uSwitch.com is urging consumers not to settle into consumer apathy.
"It is time that British Gas customers defied the marketing men and let their feet do the talking," said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com. "If 166,000 people leave British Gas in the wake of this latest price rise, between now and the end of the year, then British Gas’ share of the domestic gas market will fall below the 50% mark for the first time ever. This would deal a huge blow to the company financially and force it into rethinking its domestic pricing policy.
"At a time when uncertainty surrounding wholesale gas prices still remains, customers can shelter themselves from the brunt of future prices rises by shopping around online and getting the lowest deal," Ms Robinson concluded.