The consensus seems to be, that whilst suppliers have pushed through a significant amount, there is probably still a bit more price tweaking that needs to be done to allow them to balance their books. The numbers work out to be around 13-15%, or approximately £175 for the average dual fuel customer.
British Gas, npower and ScottishPower have all announced price rises. Oct 2013
Watching the debacle of energy price decreases from afar (I’m out of the UK presently) it would seem that there was much ado about nothing – especially as they are now all over.
Back in November and December 2008 talk was fervent around big price decreases due to the massive erosion of oil prices. Sadly all the predictions were wrong, or at least certainly not right. I think now seasoned commentators will be looking at the past 3-6 months and will slowly come to terms with the huge complexity of the energy markets within the UK but also in the wider European and Global context.
So where does this leave the UK consumer? Well oil prices are still low, but it’s readily accepted that without the barrel pricing at $55 dollars (some would say $75), there’s little economy in extracting the stuff. So, sooner or later the price will have to creep up. This means we should see some normalizing of the oil price, and more confidence will abound in the market allowing the wholesale gas price to shift a little more with whatever is left to allow a balancing against the high and low oil prices we’ve seen.
In short, medium term pricing stability, supplier certainty of how much it’s all going to cost them.
Consequently, this means that suppliers will look to review their pricing books later this year. Are we likely to see price decreases? Possibly. Are they going to be worth waiting for? Probably not. What should consumers do? Forget about the much hyped switch switch switch. Think about your energy bills in terms of savings, value, and annual review.
Pick a month in the year (not the same month your car and home insurance come to renew otherwise you’ll be busy), I’d recommend April (winter price increases / decreases will be out of the way, and therefore the year ahead will look stable). Sit down and research what’s out there. Go to one of the price comparison sites to check the price, but to get into the value part you will need to combine price comparison sites and suppliers to understand fully what you can get.
Personally I’d recommend energy saving product such as smart meters and a new boiler, for example.
Either way, I think 2009 spells a seismic shift in the way switching energy suppliers will work. Consumers need to step up to the mark, and show them who’s boss. If they do that, history has proved that at least one supplier will look to turn up with the goods.