Energy firm EDF has become the second supplier this year to announce inflation-busting gas and electricity price rises.
The French-owned firm, which has 5.5 million account holders in the UK, said it was upping gas prices by 12.9% and electricity by 7.9% from Friday due to ‘soaring’ wholesale energy costs.
Earlier this month Npower announced prices hikes of 17.2% for gas and 12.7% for electricity in a move that hit more than four million households.
EDF, which provides power through electricity distribution networks in London, the South East and East of England, said wholesale energy prices had doubled over the past year, with distribution costs also rising.
In addition, it said the business was suffering ‘significant’ cost increases from environmental obligations.
Eva Eisenschimmel, chief operating officer of EDF Energy’s customers branch, said: ‘We regret any decision to raise our prices.
‘Despite soaring wholesale energy prices, higher distribution costs and increased environmental obligations, we have been able to substantially limit the impact on our customers.’
Following Npower’s announcement on January 4, experts had been widely expecting the UK’s other main energy suppliers to follow suit.
EDF said its average dual fuel bill will rise by nearly £100 a year to £965 for those paying by direct debit as a result of the hikes. The new total without a direct debit discount is £1,007.
The increases come just over six months after the firm cut gas and electricity prices by more than 10% for customers as wholesale energy prices fell.
At the weekend, regulator Ofgem said it had no plans to refer the UK’s main energy firms to competition authorities despite a survey showing nine out of 10 customers feel ripped off.
But independent watchdog Energywatch has already renewed its calls for the ‘big six’ suppliers – British Gas, E.On, Scottish & Southern Energy, Npower, EDF and Scottish Power – to be referred to the Competition Commission this year after Npower’s move, which took the annual average bill for its customers above £1,000 a year.
But energy consumer group Energywatch said it was disappointed that EDF Energy had moved so quickly to pass costs on to its customers.
Chief executive Allan Asher said: ‘That consumers have been told to expect more price rises does not make this news any easier to swallow.
‘All suppliers are pointing to soaring wholesale costs.
‘And while the price has shot up recently consumers will be no more convinced that double digit price rises are justified just because it is six suppliers pleading poverty rather than one.’
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