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Your energy bills could go up from March if you're an npower customer. The energy supplier has announced a price increase for 1.4 million customers on its standard variable tariff.

npower will raise standard tariff electricity and gas prices from 16 March. As a result, a typical dual fuel annual bill will rise on average by £109. The company has said that the changes will affect around half of its customers – we explore what your rights are if you're one of them.

Does this affect me?

On Thursday 16 March, you’ll have the following changes if you’re an npower customer.

Gas prices will rise by an average of 4.8%.

Electricity prices will increase by an average of 15%.

• A typical dual-fuel household will see its annual bill rise from around £1,077 to £1,187, a rise of about 10%.

This price rise will happen in May for customers npower identifies as "vulnerable" – the company describe this as "anyone with ill health or who has struggled to pay their bill". npower has a record of these customers – if you think you should benefit from this scheme or receive a Warm Home Discount, you should contact npower and ask to register.

If you have a prepayment meter, you're unaffected by this price rise. However, in April Ofgem is set to cap energy prices for customers with prepayment meters so you could see your prices go up or down.

Why are the prices changing?

npower has said that this price hike is a result of increases in wholesale energy costs. The wholesale cost of electricity has risen by 36% since last April. The company also blame this price rise on the need to deliver Government policies such as smart meters.

Both the Government and Ofgem have criticised this proposal. They say that suppliers can easily avoid consumer price rises by buying energy in advance.  

Can I switch before March?

You can switch before 16 March if you're unhappy with these price hikes. To do this, you can use price comparison sites like uSwitch, and moneysupermarket to search for the cheapest tariffs.

It's worth looking into switching to a fixed rate tariff as with one of these deals, you'll see no price change over a set period of time. If you're an npower customer on existing standard tariffs, you can get a four-year fixed price tariff with a 4.8% discount.

Looking to switch to a different provider? Suppliers British Gas, E.on and SSE have all announced that they will keep prices on hold until the end of March. However, as there's speculation that certain suppliers could increase prices from this point onwards, it could be worth switching before then.

Want to change your energy supplier as a tenant? Check out our blog to find out whether you can.

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