EDF Energy claimed yesterday that while it has increased its electricity prices by an average 4.5% and gas by 15.4%, it has held those increases to the lowest level of any of the UK’s ‘Big Six’ utilities.
The French-owned energy company says that it is the cheapest dual fuel energy supplier thanks to its integrated generation and supply business and extensive nuclear fleet.
EDF is the final of the ‘Big Six’ to announce a price rise, with the new tariffs coming into effect on November 10, some three months after other suppliers.
“We have absorbed rising wholesale energy, network and other costs as long as possible but must reluctantly now pass some of these through to consumers,” says EDF Energy’s chief executive
Vincent de Rivaz. “However, unlike some other suppliers we have been able to give protection to our customers, particularly for their electricity consumption, because of our choice to invest in low carbon nuclear generation, which enjoys stable costs compared to gas and coal.”
de Rivaz also announced that the company is simplifying its tariff structure, in the face of widespread criticism of the industry in general from regulator Ofgem and consumer groups, and has suspended door-to-door selling of residential energy deals.
Scottish Power was the first utility to announce price rises this summer, with electricity up 10% and gas up 19% from August 1. British Gas followed suit soon after with price rises of 16% on electricity and 18% on gas taking effect from August 18.
Scottish and Southern Energy and E.ON both introduced similar price increases in September of around 11% on electricity and 18% on gas. npower was the last to announce its plans, which will see electricity up 7.2% and gas up 15.7% as of October 1.
Based on Ofgem’s average consumption figures of 3300 kWh for electricity and 16,500 kWh for gas, EDF Energy’s dual fuel direct debit could be up to £150 less a year than other utilities with higher price rises.
In response to the announcement, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne recommended that consumers should shop around and switch suppliers to get the best deal.
He added that the Coalition is pushing for greater openness in the market and is pressuring energy companies to help their customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes to mitigate the price increases.
“I want to see greater protection for consumers and I want to put small companies on an equal footing with the bigger players in the energy sector. The government is bringing about greater openness in energy markets and will strengthen competition – that’s good news for both business and consumers,” he said.
Consumer group Which? echoed the comments, saying that customers should check that they are on the cheapest available deal.
“Most of us have never switched – so check if you can find a cheaper deal today. You could save yourself over £200,” says executive director Richard Lloyd.
For further information:
npower becomes latest UK utility to announce price rise (17-Aug)
UK price rises could increase fuel poverty to 6.6 million homes (16-Aug)
E.ON joins in UK gas and electricity price rises (9-Aug)
Good Energy increases gas prices but holds electricity until 2012 (4-Aug)
Scottish and Southern Energy latest utility to raise prices (21-Jul)
UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne condemns British Gas price rise (8-Jul)
Scottish Power price hike could drive households towards energy efficiency (9-Jun)
16 September 2011