‘SCANDALOUS’ 10.4% NPOWER HIKE – unions slam energy price rises

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UNISON yesterday slammed Npower’s ‘scandalous’ 10.4% energy hike that will ‘bring misery to millions of households this winter’.

While the TUC said that energy prices have gone up four times faster than inflation, at the same time workers face the ‘longest real wage squeeze in over a century’.

Npower has become the third major energy supplier to announce price rises, with a dual-fuel bill to go up 10.4%, the largest hike so far.

The price rise will take effect on 1 December just as winter begins to set in and families need to turn up the gas and electric to keep warm.

British Gas have said prices would go up by 9.2% on 23 November and SSE will increase prices by 8.2% from 15 November.

This means that half of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers have massively hiked up their prices with the other three expected to follow.

Npower’s price hike will affect 3.1 million customers and includes an electricity price rise of 9.3% and a gas price rise of 11.1%, adding an extra £137 to an annual average dual-fuel bill, taking the average annual bill to a whopping £1,459!

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison said: ‘These latest price rises are the highest yet and will bring misery to millions of households this winter.

‘It is scandalous that these energy companies are out of control and Ofgem needs to get a grip and rein them in.

‘We cannot have energy companies acting purely in the pursuit of profit and holding customers to ransom.

‘One after another they are announcing price rises that are way above current inflation rates.’

The TUC has published a report which coincides with its conference ‘Green Growth: No Turning Back’.

It has found that gas and electricity prices have increased by 152 per cent over the last decade, four times faster than inflation (38 per cent).

This calculation has been done even before the latest rises by Npower, SSE and British Gas are taken into account.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady told the conference: ‘The government has been guilty of dithering over two of the biggest challenges we face today – our cost of living crisis and the need to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

‘In the last decade, gas and electricity bills have increased four times faster than inflation, with another spike due this autumn as SSE and British Gas have just hiked bills.

‘With people suffering the longest real wage squeeze in over a century these price rises have come into sharp focus.

‘Caught on the back foot by Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy bills, some MPs are now trying to twist this cost of living issue into one that fits their anti-green agenda.

‘Consumers want action from politicians to tackle the excess profits and undeserved bonuses of the big six energy companies.’