Poorer households that rely on Economy 7 tariffs face some of the steepest rises to energy bills in the coming weeks, with some customers paying 35% more for their night-time electricity than they were 13 months ago.
In the week that energy bosses appeared in the House of Commons to defend their 8%-10% “average” price rises, it has emerged that some SSE customers on the Economy 7 tariff will see part of their bills rise by 17% later this month. The increase comes on top of a 15% increase imposed this time last year.
SSE’s managing director, William Morris, told MPs this week that he profoundly regretted having to put prices up by an average of 8.2%. SSE has 500,000 households on Economy 7 bills.
Scottish Power and Npower also imposed night-time tariff hikes of around 13% in the eastern region alone when they put up prices last month.
The increases will particularly affect vulnerable households that rely on electric storage heaters, many of which are installed in social housing.
Around 10% of UK households are thought to use the Economy 7 tariff, which offers significantly cheaper electricity for seven hours at night. Users typically heat hot water cylinders and recharge storage heaters at the lower rate, but pay more than standard customers for electricity used during the day.
One SSE customer who contacted the Guardian this week said he was appalled when he opened a letter from SSE announcing the price increase, which takes effect on 15 November. “There was no mention of the previous price or the percentage that the Economy 7 rate would go up by. Only when I looked at what I had been paying did the true size of the price increase emerge,” he said.