Scottish and Southern Energy have become the latest supplier to increase their domestic prices. From 14 September, its household electricity bills will increase by 11% and gas will increase by 18%. The company follows Scottish Power and British Gas who both announced similar rises in June and July.
SSE say their typical dual fuel bill will now be £1,265, up from £1,094, which they say will be lower than those being charged by Scottish Power from 1 August and by British Gas from 18 August. Around 5.2 million households are likely to be affected by the rises.
Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of SSE, blamed the increase in wholesale prices: “I am sorry that we have had to announce an increase in household energy prices at a time when many people’s budgets are under strain, but the upward pressures on prices have become too great. We want to avoid another increase in household energy prices and they won’t go up again, if they have to, before August next year at the earliest.”
SSE have argued that their prices are transparent. In a statement detailing their reasons for rises the energy giants put more responsibility on the UK government: “Prices are going up because of rising wholesale costs, which are determined on open markets, and the impact of increasing distribution, environmental and social costs, which are determined by Ofgem and the UK government.”
Many have criticised the Big Six for increasing household prices disproportionately to wholesale prices, which are in fact lower than they were in 2008. SSE say there are two reasons for this: Firstly, they say customers were protected from the worst effects of the wholesale price peak experienced in 2008 and secondly, distribution, environmental and social costs are higher than they were three years ago.