Co-operative Energy has increased its standard Pioneer tariff by 2.4%, following higher regulatory costs.
The price increase, which only affects electricity, will see prices rise by an average of £26 per year to £1,239 a year for cash customers and £1,176 for those paying by direct debit from 27 May.
It blamed the price increase on the need to pass on “industry regulated costs”, including Energy Company Obligation (ECO), Renewable Energy and Feed-In Tariffs, as well as increases in distribution and transmission costs.
Last November, the supplier, a part of Midcounties Co-operative, said it was not increasing its winter prices since it was absorbing the costs, which is now being passed onto the customer. A statement added: “While some costs have been removed we are still experiencing a number of increases that came into play from the start of the year and from the 1 April. Therefore, we have had to take the difficult decision to increase our prices in line with this.”
Ramsay Dunning, group general manager, added: “We are committed to being fair, transparent and open with our customers and we ensure that our prices remain cost reflective at the time when the costs are incurred.
“We pledged to offer fair pricing and even after this increase we will still be competitively priced against the Big Six’s standard tariffs. We are not increasing prices to reward financial investors. We are simply no longer able to absorb these government-imposed costs.”
According to price comparison website uSwitch, the standard tariff is 18% more expensive than the cheapest plan on the market. Last week iSave announced a fixed July 2015 tariff at £994.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Just when we thought that small suppliers were coming to the rescue, Co-op [Energy] has dealt this blow to consumers. This comes completely out of the blue at a time when some suppliers are doing all they can to make energy more affordable. After a winter of rationing heating and hot water to cope with rising bills, this could be a bitter pill to swallow for long-suffering consumers.
“It’s our hope that this news does not stop people from considering a move away from the big six to a smaller supplier – many of whom offer both good value and excellent customer service. It’s now vital that consumers are supported by an education programme to help them understand all the choices available to them on the market, to give them the confidence to shop around for the best deal.”