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Issue #1616      October 30, 2013

Profit-guzzling energy giant’s huge leap in bill prices

BRITAIN: Millions face being priced out of heating their homes this winter after money-raking British Gas announced a 10.4 percent electricity rise and 8.4 per cent increase for gas.

The Centrica-owned energy profiteer said average customer dual-fuel bills will rise by £123 to £1,444 a year after the price increases, which take effect on November 23.

Energy executives had promised in May to use a profit windfall of £356 million to keep prices down. But the pledge proved to be empty words with the company blaming government energy initiatives, rising wholesale energy prices and National Grid costs for the increases.

British Gas Residential Energy managing director Ian Peters said: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly, but what’s pushing up energy prices at the moment are costs that are not all directly under our control.”

The group is the second of the “big six” providers to increase tariffs after SSE recently announced an 8.2 percent rise from November 15.

Regional variations mean that some Scottish customers will see prices rise on average by as much as 11.2 percent, while those in London and Yorkshire will suffer an increase of over 10.5 per cent.

The greedy group is also introducing a new fixed standard charge of 26p a day for all of the 7.8 million households it supplies.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said unhappy British Gas customers should quit the firm and buy their gas and electricity elsewhere.

He added: “The company will need to justify this decision openly and transparently.”

But Unison said the government should take more responsibility for a “crisis in the making.” General secretary Dave Prentis said: “Many will face the dilemma of putting on the fire or putting food on the table. The government needs to tackle fuel poverty head-on or we will see the number of deaths from cold rising over the winter.”

The news come after Labour leader Ed Miliband announced he would freeze energy prices if Labour was elected. Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said: “Britain’s energy market isn’t working for ordinary families and businesses.

“Labour’s energy freeze will save money for 27 million households and 2.4 million businesses and our plans to reset the market will deliver fairer prices in the future.”

Morning Star

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