Outcry over more energy price hikes

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with Vincent de Rivaz EDF Chief Executive.
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with Vincent de Rivaz EDF Chief Executive.
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Another major energy firm has sparked outrage after announcing its customers bills will rise steeply from December.

RWE npower piled yet more pressure on struggling households by hiking the cost of gas by 11.1 per cent and the cost of electricity by 9.3 per cent.

The energy giant has joined British Gas and SSE in announcing a sharp price rise in time for winter.

The move will affect more than 3m customers.

Tony Ward, chairman of the Wyre Senior Forum, said: “From an elderly person’s point of view, with people living on fixed incomes it is a real challenge if prices continue to rise at the rate they are doing. In the end, you have to make difficult choices about what you spend your money on.”

He highlighted the importance of council-run schemes that could drive energy bills down, including help for households looking to insulate their property.

Meanwhile, npower, which raised its prices by 8.3 per cent back in November, blamed the higher cost of delivering power to homes, meeting Government schemes and rising fuel costs.

Chief executive Paul Massara said the group only aims to make a profit of around 5p in the pound.

He said: “Only 16 per cent of the bill is under our control and imposing price controls discourages investment, increases uncertainty and ultimately leads to higher prices.”

The news came on the same day Britain sealed a deal with French firm EDF to build the first nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The Government claimed the deal will see energy prices fall but came under fire after it was revealed the company will be paid almost twice the current market rate for the energy it produces.

British Gas recently announced it is hiking electricity bills by 10.4 per cent and gas tariffs by 8.4 per cent - affecting 7.8m households - while SSE said it is hitting 7m customers with an 8.2 per cent rise.

Mark Todd, director of price comparison service energyhelpline, said: “This is devastating news and is proof to cash-strapped consumers that customer loyalty reaps no benefits.

“The truth is that there is nowhere to hide from the energy hikes and more suppliers are set to follow suit.”

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