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UK energy bills rising faster than most of the developed world



Household energy bills are rising faster in the UK than in most other countries in the developed world, according to new research.

Between 2010 and 2013, electricity prices rose by 23.5% while gas prices soared by 33.8%, according to new analysis by the House of Commons Library. 

Though electricity still costs less in the UK than in many other EU nations, including Denmark, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, the UK’s prices have risen much more sharply.

Only Ireland’s electricity prices have risen further, while the UK’s gas price rise is also amongst the highest recorded.

In real terms, it is estimated that UK energy bills have risen by an average of 21% – around £221 per year. This figure does not take into account the latest round of price hikes introduced by energy companies.

The Labour party is expected to use the latest figures to attack the government, accusing the prime minister of doing little to help consumers.

“These figures lay bare the full scale of the cost-of-living crisis and David Cameron’s failure to tackle rip-off energy bills,” said shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint. 

Labour has pledged to freeze household energy bills if the party wins the next general election, though the Conservatives have dismissed this idea as “a con”. 

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating the energy market, after regulator Ofgem suggested a lack of competition has allowed bills to soar.

From 2009 to 2012, the ‘big six’ UK energy firms – Centrica, SSE, EDF Energy, Scottish Power, E.ON and Npower – saw their profits rise from £233 million to more than £1 billion.

Meanwhile, figures published last month suggest that 2.28 million households across the UK are living in fuel poverty. A recent survey from the Kingfisher Group also found that some 65% of European homeowners say rising energy bills is their number one concern.

The growing crisis has caused many customers to switch to smaller, more ethical suppliers, such as Good Energy and Ecotricity.

Photo: Ian Muttoo via Flickr

Further reading:

‘Big six’ pushed out of best buy tables by smaller companies

Ofgem blamed for ‘reducing competition’ and raising energy prices

Almost two-thirds of European households concerned about rising energy bills

Competition in energy market is improving, says trade body

Consumers and businesses call for ‘radical changes’ in the energy market


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