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Saturday 4th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Felicity Collier

ENERGY giant Npower was lambasted yesterday after announcing plans to increase gas and electricity prices by nearly 10 per cent.

The rise will add £109 to the annual dual-fuel bills of 1.4 million customers who are on a standard variable tariff.

Npower, one of the so-called Big Six, blamed rising wholesale energy costs, but Ofgem said that it did not see “any case” for significant price increases as suppliers can buy energy in advance.

The watchdog ordered the firm to justify the decision, which will take effect on March 16, to its customers.

Shadow business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Clive Lewis slammed the government for “doing nothing to enforce its own regulator’s strong advice that there should be no price hike.”

Npower managing director for domestic markets Simon Stacey insisted that the company had “delayed the date this takes effect until after the coldest months of the year” and added that its most vulnerable customers will not be affected until May.

The firm said a further 1.4 million fixed-rate and pre-payment customers would not be affected by the increase.

Mr Lewis said: “Theresa May should take urgent action to stand up for bill-payers.

“The government have done nothing to increase the number of families getting help to insulate their home. And they are not doing enough to ensure better customer treatment.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman claimed that the government was “concerned.”

Campaigners have long called for the renationalisation of utility companies as the only way to ensure bills are fair.

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