Min­is­ter hits out at lat­est en­ergy bill price in­crease

Western Mail - - FRONT PAGE - HE­LEN CAHILL news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

EN­ERGY firm SSE has be­come the lat­est from the so-called “Big Six” to hike bills, prompt­ing a UK gov­ern­ment min­is­ter to call on cus­tomers to “vote with their feet”.

The group is in­creas­ing elec­tric­ity and gas bills by an av­er­age of 6.7%, or £76 per year, in a move af­fect­ing 2.36 mil­lion cus­tomers.

Claire Perry, en­ergy and clean growth min­is­ter, de­scribed the move as “ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing” and “un­jus­ti­fied”, adding: “Con­sumers should vote with their feet.”

SSE blamed the rise on whole­sale en­ergy costs, along­side the Gov­ern­ment’s planned in­tro­duc­tion of a price cap on en­ergy tar­iffs.

Npower, EDF, Bri­tish Gas and Scot­tishPower have al­ready raised their prices.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySav­ingEx­pert.com said: “Yet again like sheep, with en­ergy firms, when one moves the rest all fol­low. Yet the re­al­ity is they are wolves in sheep’s cloth­ing.

“Any­one on a Big Six stan­dard tar­iff is rip­ping them­selves off by fail­ing to take ac­tion.”

SSE has be­come the lat­est en­ergy firm to hike bills, say­ing whole­sale price in­creases and gov­ern­ment pol­icy was forc­ing it to raise tar­iffs.

The group is in­creas­ing elec­tric­ity and gas bills by an av­er­age of 6.7%, or £76 per year, in a move af­fect­ing 2.36 mil­lion cus­tomers.

The price changes – which were crit­i­cised by con­sumer groups – will come into force on July 11, with a 5.7% rise for gas and 7.7% for elec­tric­ity bills.

This will equate to an av­er­age in­crease of around £1.50 a week for cus­tomers buy­ing both gas and elec­tric­ity.

Stephen Forbes, chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer of SSE En­ergy Ser­vices, said: “We deeply re­gret hav­ing to raise prices and have worked hard to with­stand the in­creas­ing costs that are largely out­side our con­trol by re­duc­ing our own in­ter­nal costs.

“How­ever, as we’ve seen with re­cent ad­just­ments to Ofgem’s price caps, the cost of sup­ply­ing en­ergy is in­creas­ing and this ul­ti­mately im­pacts the prices we’re able to of­fer cus­tomers.”

The price hike from SSE comes after Npower, EDF, Bri­tish Gas and Scot­tishPower all raised prices.

More than nine mil­lion house­holds will be hit when the tar­iff rises from the en­ergy firms come into ef­fect over the sum­mer, which econ­o­mists have said will likely push up in­fla­tion.

Lily Green, cam­paigner for auto-switch­ing ser­vice Look After My Bills, said: “SSE are the worst of­fender of the Big Six. This price rise is un­jus­ti­fied and down­right un­fair. Cus­tomers suf­fer once again at the hands of the Big Six.

“It it clear from the data that there is sim­ply no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for an­other price rise, es­pe­cially of this scale. Costs are lower now than they were at their peak at the end of 2016.”

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySav­ingEx­pert.com and a Cardiff Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate, said: “Baaaaa. Yet again like sheep, with en­ergy firms, when one moves the rest all fol­low. Yet they are wolves in sheep’s cloth­ing.

“Npower is the worst of­fender, charg­ing some­one with typ­i­cal use £1,230 a year – well over £100 a month.

“Any­one on a Big Six stan­dard tar­iff is rip­ping them­selves off by fail­ing to take ac­tion. Do-noth­ings pay mas­sively more than the do­some­things.

“Switch firm and you could cut bills to al­most £800 a year, even with the same us­age.”

But en­ergy com­pa­nies have blamed the UK gov­ern­ment’s planned in­tro­duc­tion of a cap on stan­dard vari­able tar­iffs for in­creas­ing prices.

Prof­its at SSE – which is the par­ent com­pany of Welsh sup­plier Swalec – took a knock last year as it lost 430,000 cus­tomers and was stung by charges linked to the merger of its re­tail arm with ri­val Npower. The group re­ported a 6% fall in ad­justed pre-tax profit to £1.45bn in the year to March 31, while bot­tom-line prof­its tum­bled 39% to £1.09bn.

The com­pany was hit with more than £60m in IT costs re­lated to its Npower deal.

> Scot­tish and South­ern En­ergy is rais­ing elec­tric­ity and gas bills

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.