Power companies criticised for new price increases

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The Independent Online

A leading consumer group has attacked two power companies, Powergen and Atlantic Electric & Gas, over what it sees as hidden or unjustified price increases.

A leading consumer group has attacked two power companies, Powergen and Atlantic Electric & Gas, over what it sees as hidden or unjustified price increases.

Karen Darby, chief executive of Simply Energy, said: "Powergen's latest price rise is another sting in the tail for UK customers and the second time that it has increased its prices this year. And Atlantic's customers are being penalised for their loyalty to the company."

Powergen, the energy group with nine million UK customers, said that from 6 September its residential gas customers would face a price increase of 3.1 per cent on average, equivalent to 21p a week. It will also scrap the standing charge for its standard residential electricity and gas customers, so they will only pay for the energy they use. Ms Darby said: "I would warn consumers not to be fooled, as new gas and electricity tariffs mean one thing - increased prices for the end user."

But a Powergen spokesman said: "All gas customers will have lower bills with Powergen than with British Gas on a like-for-like basis, and the average standard dual-fuel customer will save £46 a year with Powergen compared to British Gas."

The company is also restructuring its electricity prices. Standard residential customers who take both electricity and gas from Powergen will benefit from a dual-fuel discount of 3 per cent, and there will also be a 3 per cent discount for customers who pay by monthly direct debit.

Atlantic, which was taken over by Scottish & Southern Energy Group in April, said that from 5 July customers who have been with the company for six months or more will have an 18 per cent increase in gas bills to bring them in line with current tariffs. Electricity bills are set to increase as well.

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