The latest energy tariff increases from Centrica's residential arm British Gas have come into force, leading price analysts to reiterate their advice that consumers should look to switch to a rival.

British Gas has now implemented its second price hike of the year in response to continued wholesale gas price inflation. As it announced in July the company has now increased its gas tariffs by 12.4% and electricity tariffs by 9.4%.

The development is the second time in 2006 that the once incumbent UK gas supplier has raised prices for residential customers and despite the fact that a number of the firm’s main rivals have taken similar action, price comparison website uSwitch has restated that in its opinion customers should look for another supplier.

According to the price comparison outfit, the reason for this is that British Gas’ prices are now on average 18% higher than its big rivals for gas and 17% higher for energy, making it stand out as Britain’s most expensive major energy provider.

British Gas said that it would not increase its prices again in 2006, but it stopped short of any guarantees for the coming year. Powergen also announced price hikes in August and it is expected that a number of other major energy supply firms will follow suit.

However, with new supply infrastructure coming on-line, increasing the chances of wholesale gas prices stabilizing in the near future, some providers may be looking to resist increases for the time being.