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Second utility price hike announced

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Several price comparison sites have criticised EDF Energy’s planned increase in gas and electricity tariffs, to come into affect on 18 January.

EDF Energy has announced a 12.9% increase in its gas prices and a 7.9% increase for electricity from 18 January. This equates to a £74 and a £28 price hike, respectively. The increases will affect standard tariffs, meaning 59% of EDF’s 5.5 million customer accounts will be impacted, according to USwitch, a price comparison website. Its research has revealed the average bill payment for a dual fuel customer with the supplier will hit £1,007 – £36 more expensive than when prices were at a peak last year.

This makes EDF Energy – Britain’s fifth-largest energy supplier – the second most expensive supplier in the market, according to USwitch. It is the second of the six main providers to announce a price increase.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at USwitch, said: “Consumers are again being asked to accept an inflation busting price hike at face value without the courtesy of a detailed, clear and logical explanation. The industry has yet to provide any degree of transparency about how household energy bills are calculated and what costs consumers should legitimately be asked to shoulder.”

Karen Darby, founder of SimplySwitch, a price comparison and switching service, added: “Last year, when all of the other major suppliers cut gas and electricity prices, EDF only reduced prices for gas. Throughout 2007, EDF’s electricity customers experienced no benefit from the drop in wholesale prices. Because EDF is the ‘default’ electricity supplier for the whole of London, and several other regions, millions of people would have been affected.”

She also warned that, after NPower’s price hike last week, which added £159 to the average bill, the floodgates could now be opened for other companies. “We expect to see a flurry of price-rising activity over the coming weeks,’ she concluded.”

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