Choice between eating and heating for struggling Cornish families as second firm hikes prices? (From Falmouth Packet)
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Choice between eating and heating for struggling Cornish families as second firm hikes prices?
5:00pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
Households in Cornwall face surging winter energy bills after British Gas announced it will hike electricity bills by 10.4% and gas tariffs by 8.4% in the latest blow to family finances.
The group is the second of the "big six" providers to announce price increases this month after SSE recently revealed more than seven million customers will be hit with an 8.2% rise from November 15.
The move sees British Gas tear up a pledge made earlier this year to use an annual earnings windfall from the cold weather to keep a lid on tariffs.
Prime Minister David Cameron branded the announcement "disappointing" and urged unhappy consumers to switch suppliers for the best deal.
Rising energy bills will heap further pressure on the coalition Government ahead of the 2015 general election following Labour leader Ed Miliband's bold announcement last month that the party would freeze gas and electricity prices for 20 months if it was voted into power.
According to Ofgem usage figures, British Gas dual-fuel customers will see their average annual bill rise by £123 to £1,444 after the price increases, which take effect on November 23.
But regional variations in prices mean some customers will see their bills top £1,500 a year, with average prices rising by as much as 11.2% for some Scottish customers, while those in London will suffer a 10.6% increase and households in Yorkshire will have a 10.5% lift.
British Gas also said it was introducing a new fixed standard charge of 26p a day - which will have an impact on another 6.1 million customers - and a single variable unit rate, depending on usage and tariff.
Consumer groups warned that other providers would follow suit with more price rises, leaving some households to choose between "heating and eating".
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