Gas Prices Rise 9.4%

Gas Prices Rise 9.4%

Gas bosses have given 380,000 Scottish customers a pre-Christmas kicking with a "scandalous" 9.4 per cent price rise.

Scottish and Southern Energy, who made profits of £1.29billion in the year to March, will add £67 to the average bill.

And watchdogs warned that the rest of the "Big Six" energy firms were likely to pile on the agony with rises of their own.

Audrey Gallacher of Consumer Focus said: "They adopt a pack mentality on pricing."#

Consumer groups were horrified by the inflation busting SSE increase, announced as the nation faces an icy winter, tiny pay rises and the grim fallout from the Con-Dem cuts.

It will come into force on December 1, just in time for winter to bite.

Most households use around 40 per cent of their annual energy between November and January and forecasters fear this winter will be particularly harsh.

SSE, Britain's second-biggest energy Supplier, blamed the wholesale cost of gas, which has gone up by 25 per cent since March.

But since 2008, when a frenzy of huge Gas and electricity prices hike saw household energy prices soar by almost half, wholesale gas prices have FALLEN by 40 per cent.

In 2009 and 2010, the Big Six cut bills by an average of eight per cent.

Consumer focus chief executive Mike O'Connor said he couldn't understand why bills went "up like a rocket and down like a feather". He branded the SSE move scandalous.

Customers should think about switching suppliers, saying: "People don't have to sit and take this."

The average SSE gas bill will rise to £782, according to regulators Ofgem. Dual fuel customers will see bills go up to £1226.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, energy supply director at SSE, said: "The last few months have been marked by rising wholesale prices.

"Having absorbed losses in our gas supply business for some time, we cannot delay an increase in retail prices any longer. I am sorry it will take effect during the winter period."

Sse claim they have been making losses for years on supplying gas to homes.
Ofgem said recently that on average, firms made an annual profit on gas of £50 per household, up from £20 the year before.

The Con-Dems said there was a market for energy and it was up to customers to find the best deals.

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31st October, 2010

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