Energy experts are warning that household energy prices could be about to rise for the first time in two years, driven partly by higher import costs following the Brexit vote.
The Co-op started the ball rolling when it told some of its 500,000 energy customers that, from 1 October, it would be raising bills by between 3% and 6% – the latter equating to a potential rise of almost £70.
The price of wholesale gas has steadily risen over the last three months but Britain is facing a double hit because gas imports from the continent are about 10% higher still, due to a fall in the value of sterling against the euro.
The Co-op is raising the average bill for dual-fuel customers on a standard plan from £1,152 to £1,184 a year. People with pre-payment meters could find their bills rising from £1,115 to £1,184, according to the price comparison site uSwitch.
“This is a worrying warning bell that the wholesale price honeymoon may be drawing to a close. Wholesale prices are now climbing at the fastest rate in years, driven by upward pressure on the cost of energy imports from the falling value of sterling following the EU referendum, future supply concerns and higher transmission costs,” said Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch. “Unfortunately, it’s the smaller suppliers who are less able to cope as they cannot buy their energy as far ahead as the big six [companies]. The danger is that other small suppliers could now follow suit and raise their prices – just in time for winter.”