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Chancellor George Osborne has told ITV News that energy companies npower and British Gas should reconsider their price hikes and "see if they are absolutely necessary at a time like this".
He said: "Of course I’m concerned when I see electricity bills going up and partly that is because of things beyond our control – what’s happening in the world with oil prices and gas prices.
"We’ve also got to do everything we can in Britain to try and keep those bills down. I would urge those energy companies to look again at any increases to see if they are absolutely necessary at a time like this.”
Customers on a British Gas tariff which sources power from renewable sources will see their electricity bills leap by 11%.
Around 4,000 customers on the sustainable energy tariff will see an increase which is almost double the rise in British Gas's dual fuel prices announced today.
The tariff matches every unit of electricity a customer uses with a unit of 100% British renewable energy.
This is very unwelcome, and I know lots of families who are struggling to balance their budgets will be very disappointed and concerned by these price rises. That’s why Government is taking action on a number of fronts: short-term measures to help people struggle with bills this winter, long-term measures to reform the market and bring in more competition.
What we need is action. We are bringing in the Energy Bill this winter that will reform the markets, it will be the biggest shake-up since privatisation, in addition, we are giving extra teeth to the regulator Ofgem.
– Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker
We are also rolling out the Green Deal this winter. This is the biggest ever energy efficiency programme, that will help millions improve their homes so they are better insulated. This is probably the most ambitious energy efficiency programme in Europe, if not the world.
I am determined to help families, students in digs, pensioners, everyone, to benefit from the Green Deal, which will provide a long-term solution to people so they are less dependent on energy companies.
– Audrey Gallacher, Director of energy at Consumer Focus
Two price hikes on the same day will just reinforce the views and prejudices of consumers – whether justified or not - about a lack of transparency and competitiveness in the market.
People are not convinced that they are getting a fair deal. Unless they can be reassured about the relationship between costs, prices and profits, consumer distrust will continue, companies won’t get their message across, and the success of the regulator will be questioned.
Consumers need to see the Government and regulator taking big steps to help mitigate the rising cost of energy for customers.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said the Government's Energy bill will give regulator Ofgem more powers to improve the markets and will be the biggest shake-up of the industry since privatisation.
– Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister
We are also rolling out the Green Deal this winter. This is the biggest ever energy efficiency programme, that will help millions improve their homes so they are better insulated.
We have also brought in the Warm Home Discount, which will provide an extra £130 for two million of the most vulnerable households this winter.
We're reluctantly announcing a price increase - an average of 8.8% for gas and 9.1% for electricity. This will take effect on 26th Nov. ^Zoe
Energy provider npower has followed British Gas and announced a rise in its prices by 8.8% for gas and 9.1% for electricity.