Energy Minister Claire Perry has described price rises from British Gas-owner Centrica as “unjustified”.

The UK’s largest energy supplier is increasing the cost of both gas and electricity by 5.5%, pushing up the cost of an average dual-fuel bill by £60 a year to £1,161.

The price rise will affect 4.1 million customers and comes after last year’s 12.5% rise in electricity prices.

Centrica blamed rising wholesale costs and government policies such as smart meters and support for renewable energy for the price increase.

‘No justification’

But Perry said: “We are disappointed by British Gas’s announcement of an unjustified price rise in its default tariff when customers are already paying more than they need to.”

Ed Molyneux, head of research for switching service Look After My Bills, said: “The data is clear, there is simply no justification for price hikes now, especially when British Gas put their prices up last year.”

Centrica called again for the UK Government to remove the cost of smart meters and renewable energy subsidies from consumer bills and take them into general taxation instead.

The announcement by Centrica was followed by one from EDF Energy which raising its electricity prices by 2.7% although gas prices remain unchanged.

> See Centrica's statement