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UK energy bills rise as other countries’ fall

Data show UK bills rising faster than elsewhere

A blue flame from a gas hob

Although there is no ‘green gas’, you can still switch your energy supplier to a green tariff

New figures on inflation show that gas and electricity bills are rising faster in the UK than almost anywhere else in the western world.

Compared to this time last year, gas and electricity costs are up by 12.1% in the UK. The only country to show higher energy inflation was Turkey, where bills soared by 23.5%.

The figures, from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), cover its 30 member states. The average change in energy costs was a drop of 8.9%. Close neighbours Ireland, France, Germany and Spain all experienced energy price deflation and in the US bills fell by 21.3%.

British Gas price cut

In January British Gas said that it would be reducing its prices by 10% in response to falls in the wholesale price of gas as a result of the global economic slowdown. However, the rest of the ‘big six’ suppliers that dominate the UK market – Npower, Scottish Power, EDF, Eon and Scottish & Southern – have yet to announce that they will be passing on savings to customers.

Switch with Which?, the free, impartial switching service from Which?, lets you compare prices and see suppliers’ satisfaction ratings. On average, customers who used Switch with Which? saved £257 in a year, based on figures gathered between August and December 2008.

The Energy Retail Association (ERA), which represents the power companies, said that despite the OECD’s figures UK consumers were still getting a good deal.

Gas and electricity prices

Quoted in the Daily Telegraph, ERA chief executive Garry Felgate said: ‘The UK has the most competitive market for gas and electricity in the world. The latest OECD’s figures don’t show the actual level of prices, just the change over the last 12 months.’

‘Despite last year’s price rises, recent government data show that domestic gas prices are still the lowest in the main European Union area.’

Current figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change show that while gas prices in the UK are 17.6% below the EU average, electricity costs are 15% above average.

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