British Gas raises prices againSeptember rise to hit nearly 11 million households

27 July 2006

British Gas customers face more misery after the energy giant confirmed it will be hiking up energy prices by as much as 12.4 per cent.

From 4 September the company’s 10.7 million gas customers will be hit by a 12.4 per cent increase on their bills while its 5.8 million electricity customers face a rise of 9.4 per cent.

It’s the fourth increase by British Gas in less than two years and follows a 22 per cent hike in gas and electricity bills by the firm in March.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, blamed the soaring cost of the wholesale gas which had risen by 71 per cent in the last 12 months.

British Gas had hoped its 22 per cent increase in March would have been the last of the year but said it was forced into today's announcement by a 30 per cent rise in the cost of wholesale gas since then.

Managing director Mark Clare said: ‘We cannot continue running the company at a loss. We need to run a profitable business so that we can invest in bringing more gas into the UK, which will drive down wholesale prices in the longer term. ‘We hope there will be no further increases in prices but it depends on the cost of wholesale gas.’

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Consumer group Energywatch says that since 2003 the average annual British Gas bill for gas has risen by more than 90 per cent, while its electricity bills have risen by more than 80 per cent.

On Monday, power giant EDF Energy – which owns Seeboard Energy, Sweb Energy, London Energy and EDF Energy – also announced it was raising fuel prices by up to 19 per cent from the end of July.

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