British Gas – one of the biggest energy suppliers in the UK – is raising prices for gas and electricity (i.e. our lights and heating bills) by 5 per cent on average, or £60 a year.
What it means: British Gas says the cost of supplying energy is going up. It has to pay more to buy the gas and electricity it supplies to you – in other words, the 'wholesale price' is higher, so they're passing on that burden to consumers.
Why? For one thing, it's been really cold recently, so 'demand' is up. If people are using more gas, but the amount of gas available is staying the same, the value of the gas we've got goes up – so prices go up. But British Gas also says it's because of government policies about 'smart meters' and hitting emissions targets which are pushing their operations prices up – they think the funds for these changes should come from tax, not the consumer.