Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) are the latest energy provider to announce a price increase in both electricity and gas prices. Electricity prices will increase by 11% and gas prices by 18% on average from 14th September 2011. Obviously the key words in that last sentence are 'on average'. In reality the percentage rise in electricity bills for low usage electricity customers will be higher than 11%, yet lower than 11% for high electricity users. The opposite will be true for gas price increases.
These increases will affect around 5.2 million electricity customers and 3.6 million gas customers across the UK, and contradicts the guarantee given by SSE, following their last increase in December 2010, that there will not be another price rise until August 2012 at the earliest.
SSE has blamed the increases on the rising wholesale price of electricity and gas, together with increases in the distribution costs. This announcement comes less than 2 weeks after British Gas increased their prices and a month after Scottish Power implemented similar increases.
Mike O'Connor, the chief executive of Consumer Focus has called on Ofgem to investigate the market as currently consumers cannot tell if these increases are justified. On top of which the huge investment required in cleaner power plants and other low-carbon programmes will push bills up even more.
Why do electricity and gas prices keep going up?
When SSE last raised their prices I wrote an article on How electricity and gas prices are calculated and why they keep going up. The article is just as relevant now as it was then.