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Green policies blamed for price rises

The Times

British Gas is blaming costs of transmission networks and green policy measures for its latest price rises.

British Gas will raise electricity prices for more than 3 million households, adding £76 to a typical annual energy bill.

Britain’s biggest supplier blamed government policies and energy network costs for the 12.5 per cent increase, and admitted that wholesale prices had actually fallen since it last raised prices in late 2013.

The price rise was announced as Centrica, British Gas’s owner, reported a 26 per cent drop in profits at its household supply business, to £381 million for the first six months of this year. It said this reflected customers leaving the company, the remaining customers using less energy in warmer weather, and the impact of a cap by the regulator on the prices it could charge households with pre-payment meters.

British Gas lost 377,000 gas and electricity accounts over the first six months of the year, or almost 3 per cent of its customers, as households switched to cheaper rivals.

Adjusted operating profits at the Centrica group fell by 4 per cent to £816 million.

Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, blamed the price rise on “significant pressures on costs in two areas”, citing the costs of transmission and distribution networks and environmental and social policies, all of which are levied on bills.

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