Watchdog slams energy price hike

26-01-2008

Watchdog slams energy price hike
Gas and electricity watchdog Energywatch has slammed the recent increases in the prices of gas and electricity.

Three of the UK's six energy suppliers – Npower, EDF Energy and British Gas – have raised prices this year and the body has called for the Competition Commission to launch an investigation into the level of competition in the market.

Other energy companies E.On (formerly Powergen), Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy are yet to raise their prices.

A spokesman for the organisation, Allen Asher, told BBC News 24: "The price rises we've seen are not justified.

"There'll be more, but sadly the market is not working well and that's leading to consumers paying much, much more than they need to," he added.

Previously the organisation has warned that rising gas and electricity prices had increased the level of debt suffered by consumers.

Energywatch says a comparison of three-month data for the present year to the same period in 2004 indicated a 64 per cent rise in consumers owing more than £600 on their electricity bills and a 19 per cent rise in consumers owing more than £600 on their gas bills.

Electricity bills had increased by 61 per cent while totals on gas bills had risen by 82 per cent over the last four years, it added.

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