The chairman of British Gas has again warned of gas and electricity price rises as energy suppliers pass on high wholesale price increases.
Sir Roger Carr told The Sunday Telegraph that households should prepare for price rises in the region of the Scottish Power price hike last week. Utility Exchange reported last week that Scottish Power was set to increase gas prices by 19% and electricity prices by 10% from 1 August.
Sir Roger said wholesale prices had risen by more than 20% and it was therefore no surprise that Scottish Power had increased their prices by a similar amount.
He warned that unless wholesale energy prices went down there would be further price rises from other energy suppliers similar to those proposed by Scottish Power.
He said “Moving wholesale prices have been very material, well over 20pc, in recent months. In those circumstances, it is just a commercial fact that those things convert into price increases. It’s high. Nobody likes higher prices but it’s passing on costs which nobody can avoid”.
Many people blame an increased demand for gas on high prices but others have argued that it’s actually energy trading speculation that has forced wholesale prices up.
However, Sir Roger doesn’t agree with this position and said “There’s no doubt that the energy price is utterly related to the global position. We’re seeing huge demand for energy in those countries that are growing very rapidly and there doesn’t appear to be any foreseeable change in that in the short-term”.
Utility Exchange reported last week that some critics had blamed hidden green taxes for the rise in energy bills but Sir Roger again disagreed. He said it was inevitable that some of the costs involved in moving towards a low carbon economy should be recouped from customers’ bills. He said “Ofgem has said that it would see over the next decade a dual fee bill going up by about £500 a year for a typical consumer and that’s related to decarbonisation rather than market forces”.
In response to Sir Roger’s warning of price hikes the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, said customers should not take price rises lying down but hit energy providers where it hurts and move to a cheaper supplier. He said “Consumers don’t have to take price increases lying down. If an energy company hits you with a price increase, you can hit them back where it hurts – by shopping around and voting with your feet”.
This obviously applies to business customers as well as domestic energy users. It’s important to compare business gas prices and business electricity deals and switch to a cheaper supplier.