UK: EDF to increase energy prices by 10.8%

ANOTHER three million households face higher energy bills after EDF Energy became the latest supplier to increase its tariffs.

The company will raise prices for domestic gas and electricity by 10.8%, meaning its typical dual-fuel bill for a direct debit customer will rise by �122 to �1,251 a year.

EDF, which is the fifth major supplier in recent weeks to announce higher prices, said the change will take effect from December 7.

E.ON is now the only big supplier yet to announce price rises after it made a promise not to raise tariffs this year.

EDF, which has 3.1 million customers and 5.5 million accounts overall, said its annual dual fuel bill was the lowest of the suppliers to have announced price rises so far.

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Companies have blamed the changes on rising wholesale prices and increased running costs, especially for transporting gas and electricity to customers’ homes, and the cost of energy efficiency programmes.

EDF director Martin Lawrence said: “We know that customers will not welcome this news and do not want to see prices going up.

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“Our new prices will however be cheaper on average than those of all the other major suppliers which have announced standard price rises so far this autumn.”

He added the company was taking steps to help vulnerable customers by ensuring that those whom the Government identifies as most in need will automatically benefit from a discount equivalent to being on its cheapest tariff.

Downing Street described the latest price rises as “very disappointing”.

“It is up to energy suppliers to explain their prices to their customers,” a Number 10 spokeswoman said.

“While we can’t control world energy prices, we have been working very closely with the energy companies to make it easier for people to switch to find cheaper deals.

“We want to ensure customers get the lowest tariffs. That is why we are going to use the law to help people get the best deals.”

EDF said the highest typical dual fuel monthly direct debit increase will be in North Scotland with a rise of 11.4%, compared with 10.1% in London.

SSE, which trades as Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro, increased its tariffs by 9% on October 15, the same day as Scottish Power announced plans to hike bills by an average 7% from December 3.

British Gas will impose an average increase of 6% affecting 8.5 million customers from November 16, with Npower planning an average rise of 8.8% for gas and 9.1% for electricity from November 26.

Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at Consumer Focus, said the latest rise from EDF will leave even more customers worried about their energy bills.

She added: “EDF Energy’s tariffs will still be slightly cheaper on average than other suppliers who have increased their prices - but this will be little comfort to those seeing a double-digit percentage rise on their bills.

“Another price rise, hot on the heels of those we’ve already seen, will again feed into consumer concerns on pack behaviour and whether price changes are driven by real supply and demand issues.

“Energy companies obviously need to react to wholesale and other pricing pressures - but customers need to know the scale of changes is justified.”

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