A MOVE by British Gas to hike electricity prices by 12.5 per cent for 3.1 million customers will hit those already on poor-value energy tariffs, the government has warned.
Worked at BP for 29 years before stepping down from the board in 2014 to become CEO of British Gas owner Centrica.
British Gas has announced plans to raise electricity prices by 12.5 percent from mid-September, affecting 3.5 million customers. Customers using a pre-payment meter will also not be affected.
"We need to open up the market to more competition to drive down prices and take action to help lower income families".
Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, which owns British Gas, said the increase was not due to the electricity being more expensive, blaming the increase instead on the cost of getting the electricity to people's homes and the cost of government policy.
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British Gas lost 377,000 household energy accounts with domestic energy supply profits falling 26% to £381m.
Big Switch said Centrica made £489 million in profits on its domestic customers during the first half of 2017 and Mr Conn received a 40 per cent pay rise in 2016 making his total remuneration package worth £4.15 million.
The British Gas standard tariff now costs an average of £1,044 a year, but after the hike it will mean a typical household will pay £1,120 a year.
The Government responded by renewing its pre-election threat to impose a cap on standard tariffs following the conclusion of a continuing investigation of the charges led by the industry regulator, Ofgem.
It was quickly removed from the website and British Gas subsequently refused to comment, beyond saying it does not speculate about future electricity pricing.
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And mounting utility bills combined with flatlining household incomes and poor building standards on insulation, mean the problem has been growing steadily in the United Kingdom for years.
Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead said the government "should have acted on its pre-election promise of imposing a price cap on energy costs".
Centrica PLC on Tuesday reported steep declines in profit and earnings in the first half of 2017 after results were dragged down by exceptional items and losses from re-measurements, as it also announced it will lift electricity prices within the British Gas unit.
Handily, Ofgem breaks down that 15% cost increase into what has caused costs to rise.
"At the very least the Conservatives should institute the energy price cap which Theresa May promised during the campaign".
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The so called "big six" of the UK's largest energy suppliers have a strong hold over energy prices, and successive governments and parties have pledged to introduce some form of price controls in recent years and decades.