THERESA May is set to announce a cap on rip-off energy bills in a bid to crackdown on hikes – as EDF imposes a £78 a year price rise.
It’s the second time the French firm has pushed up its prices affecting millions of customers in less than six months.
Gas prices will increase by an average of 5.5 per cent and electricity prices will go up by 9 per cent, the firm said.
But now the Prime Minister has reportedly waded in – saying the Government is “prepared to act”.
A Downing Street spokesman told the Daily Mail: “We are committed to getting the best possible deal for households and expect energy companies to treat their customers fairly.
“Wherever markets are not working for consumers, this Government is prepared to act.”
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The newspaper reports that the Government is working on a scheme to protect families, which will include a cap.
EDF blamed the rising cost of wholesale energy as well as other long-term industry obligations, including the cost of rolling out smart meters.
EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “I know that price rises are never welcome, but the industry is facing significant cost increases. To be a sustainable and responsible business, we aim to make a fair margin in supplying customers.
“This fair margin allows us to invest for the long term, in particular in good service, innovation and smart metering.”
However the energy regulator rejected claims rising wholesale costs are to blame for the price hike, noting that it was “difficult to justify”.
Ofgem’s Dermot Nolan told the Mail: “EDF’s second price rise in four months, when there has not been a dramatic rise in wholesale energy prices since it last put up prices, is difficult to justify and is further evidence that the energy market is not working in all consumers’ interests.”
In December, the firm announced that electricity prices would rise by 8.4 per cent from March 2017.
At the same time it announced a 5.2 per cent cut in gas prices in January.
The combined effect of the previously announced changes and today’s rise means a dual fuel direct debit customer will see their bills go up by an average of 8.5 per cent – adding £91 a year to bills.
The most recent proposals means the firm’s 1.5 million dual fuel customers will pay an average of £78 a year more after the rise.
Customers on fixed deals or prepayment meters are unaffected by the increase.
MILLIONS of households across the UK have never switched and are stuck on the most expensive tariffs.
If in doubt, call your provider and ask them to move you to their cheapest tariff.
Better still, use a comparison website like MoneySuperMarket.com or Energyhelpline.com to find the very best deal for you.
The cheapest tariffs are usually found online and are fixed deals – meaning you guarantee how much you’ll pay for a set amount of time, usually 12 months.
Switching to a cheaper supplier could cut your bill by up to £300 a year.
The amount you pay varies depending on where you live and how much energy you use.
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk said: “This is an insult for many already struggling families and a reminder that we all need to be tightening our purse strings to cope with rising prices.
“Everyone should shop around for gas and electricity at least once a year – there’s no point sticking with the same company when you could pay hundreds less for exactly the same service elsewhere.”
The latest hike comes after all of the ‘big six’ energy firms announced a slew of price changes earlier this year.
Last month, E.ON announced it was pushing up prices by almost 14 per cent – adding £97 a year to bills from April 26.
Npower added £109 a year to bills – a rise of 9.8 per cent – from March 16.
Scottish Power pushed up bills by an average of 7.8 per cent – adding £86 a year to bills – from March 31.
Meanwhile British Gas announced a price freeze for its standard variable tariff customers until August.
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