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UK Government Struggles To Contain Growing Anger Over Energy Price Rises

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Lianna Brinded, International Business Times

Britain’s Coalition government has hit back on energy price hikes, for the second time in under a week, in a bid to abate the inevitable wave of public anger over the rise in household bills.

Bills will rise by an average of 9.2pc, taking the typical annual dual fuel bill up by more than £120 to a record of £1,465.

Following British Gas and Centrica’s move to hike their gas and electricity prices in November, the government said that each supplier will have to prove exactly why household bills are set to rise again.

“This is extremely disappointing news for British Gas’s customers, and the company will need to justify this decision openly and transparently,” said Energy Secretary Edward Davey.

“The competition we’ve introduced to the energy market means people have a choice. They can look for the best deal available; including from smaller suppliers, with the confidence that switching will make an immediate difference to their bills and force the Big 6 to compete on price.

“I recently wrote to energy companies asking them to publish their costs of delivering the Energy Company Obligation.

“Today’s announcement shows why that’s necessary, because British Gas’s ECO numbers just don’t add up when you look at what other energy companies are saying about their costs.”

The ‘Big Six’ energy companies make up 99% of the UK energy sector.

Centrica said it will raise its household charges for electricity and gas by an average of 9.2% from November [Figure 1].

Meanwhile, British Gas said its electricity and gas prices will rise by 10.4% and 8.4% respectively, from November 23.

Only a week ago, SSE announced it will raise its charges for electricity and gas by an average of 8.2%.

British Government Struggles to Contain Anger

On 10 October, Davey released a statement to explain why there is a tax on energy bill collection and where proceeds go to, after SSE partly blamed the government for a rise in costs.

“SSE’s own figures show that wholesale price rises have contributed more than policy costs to this price increase, as a share of the bill,” said Davey.

Britain’s coalition, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, is under intense pressure to tackle the continual rise in energy costs, after Labour’s leader Ed Miliband pledged to freeze energy prices until 2017, if the Party wins the general election in two years time.

International Business Times, 17 October 2013