Powergen announces gas price riseMillions of customers to be hit with price hikes
28 March 2006
Six million gas and electricity customers face more heartache after Powergen announced huge hikes to its energy prices.
From 10 March its electricity bills will rise by 18.4 per cent while gas customers face increases of a massive 24.4 per cent. It's the largest ever gas price rise seen in the UK.
The increases, which are the largest in Powergen's history, will add GBP 56 to the average annual electricity bill, while the average gas customers will have to pay out an extra GBP 120 each year.
Which? Senior Researcher Cassie Smith says the steep rises are yet more proof consumers need to search out the best energy deals:
Knocked for six
'We thought we were shocked by British Gas' 22 per cent rise, but we were knocked for six by Powergen's announcement.
'This is the largest single price rise ever seen in the industry for gas. But despite these massive rises, there are still savings to be made. We urge you to check that you aren't paying too much - especially if you've never switched. With these sky-high prices, you are risking far too much by not checking.'
Which? runs its own energy price comparison website (see related links below) that helps consumers choose the best energy provider for themselves. It provides comprehensive and impartial information on home energy suppliers and makes it easy for people to switch.
Powergen, which is owned by the German energy company E.ON, blamed the move on the rising price of wholesale gas. The Managing Director of Powergen Retail, Nick Horler, said: 'We shielded our customers from the impact of these costs for as long as possible, and we continue to ensure that our prices are highly competitive.'
But Adam Scorer of consumer group EnergyWatch has condemned the scale of the latest Powergen price rises.
'The size of these rises is appalling and they are a staggering blow for Powergen customers. Laying claim to the biggest percentage rise in energy bills is nothing to be proud of. It is further proof that the market is not delivering price protection for Britain's energy users.'
Powergen last increased its energy prices in August 2005 when it put up electricity prices by more than 7 per cent while gas charges rose by almost 12 per cent.
Scottish & Southern Energy, Npower, Scottish Power, EDF and British Gas have already announced or implemented price rises this year.
From tomorrow British Gas, which is the UK's biggest supplier, will add 22 per cent to electricity and gas bills.