27/07/2006

Energy bills set to rise again

British Gas owner Centrica has announced plans to increase energy bills from September.

Centrica announced that gas bills would increase by 12.4%, while electricity bills would rise by 9.4%.

British Gas blamed the "unprecedented" rise in the cost of wholesale energy costs for the latest rise.

Centrica chairman Roger Carr said: "Gas prices for the fourth quarter of this year stayed extremely high and, faced with substantial losses in British Gas Residential Energy, we have had to take the difficult decision to raise retail prices again."

The announcement follows a 22% rise in gas and electricity bills in March.

However, British Gas said that the wholesale cost of gas had risen by 71% in the past 12 months and by 266% from the winter of 2002/03.

British Gas has also announced a drop in profits. The latest figures showed that profits dropped to £692 million from £969 million for the six months to June 30.

Other suppliers have also announced an increase in prices. EDF Energy announced a 19% rise in gas prices earlier this week, while Scottish Power announced two weeks ago that it would be increasing prices.

(KMcA/SP)

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