Broadband and phone giant DELAYS price rise due to cost of living crisis – what it means for you

HALF a million households have been handed extra time to prepare for a rise to broadband and phone bills.

Shell Energy has said it is delaying a bill hike planned for April that would have seen customers pay up to £59 a year more.

The delay applies to customers who get their broadband and phone services from Shell Energy.

It won't affect customers who get their gas and electric from the company.

The company has said that the bill rise will be delayed until summer as households face a storm of rising bills.

It has not yet set a date for when bills will rise but it's expected to be at least after May.

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Customer contracts state that bills can rise from April 1 by consumer price inflation (CPI) plus 3% on top.

CPI hit a 30-year high reaching 5.5% in January, meaning bills can rise by 8.5%.

That would add an extra £4.93 a month to the most expensive contract, or £59.16 a year, which is for the Shell Energy Full Fibre 900 tariff.

For the firm's cheapest tariff which is £17.99 a year, it's an extra £1.53 a month, or £18.36 a year.

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No other terms of customer's broadband contracts will change.

Jeremy Woodrow, boss of Shell Energy Broadband, said: “We recognise the cost of living challenge that households up and down the country are facing, and the prices of so many goods and services are set to increase.

"We don’t want the cost of broadband to be a further burden for our customers, so we’re postponing any increase in our prices until the summer.

“I won’t pretend that we can freeze our prices indefinitely, because we are experiencing the same cost pressures as our competitors and we’re investing heavily in our products and customer experience, but I hope that a postponement brings some relief to our customers during this time.”

O2 and Virgin Mobile are hiking bills by as much as £48 a year from April, while Sky is adding £43 a year to broadband and TV bills.

BT, EE and Vodafone are planning to hit more customers with bill hikes of up to £74 a year come April too.

Virgin Media is also hiking prices by £56 a year for broadband and TV customers.

But many households can't afford the hikes as they grapple with a worsening cost of living crisis.

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Other bills rising in April include energy and council tax, while National Insurance rates are also going up.

The government has been urged to act to help Brits struggling with higher living costs.

Millions of households will get a council tax rebate of £150 in April to help ease the bill pain, and a further energy bill rebate in October worth £200, though that will have to be repaid.

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