Personal Finance Editor's Letter: Energy price hikes


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The Independent Online


It is no coincidence that as the  cold weather starts to bite the giant energy companies begin their annual round of price hikes. As the leaves fall, gas and  electricity prices rise.

Yesterday Scottish and  Southern Energy sparked fury among its seven million  customers by announcing increases of more than 8 per  cent (page 4).

But the move is just the first of a series of price hikes by the Big Six energy suppliers.

British Gas could announce a hike today – although it remained tight-lipped about it last night when we asked – while nPower is expected to do so next week, with EDF, Scottish Power and E.on  following soon after.

There is little point in  spitting venom about their  rip-off charges or eye-watering profits – which have climbed 74 per cent since 2009 – unless you’re prepared to do something  about it.

So what could you do? The Energy minister, Michael  Fallon, suggests that fed-up people should switch suppliers. That’s good advice but look beyond the Big Six. The cheapest fixed rate on offer right now is from First Utility, for instance.

You’ll hear more from i about energy bills in the coming weeks as the increases hit home and more people fall into fuel poverty.

And you can rest assured that we’ll hold the energy firms to account for every excess winter death caused by people being forced to turn off their heating because they can’t afford it.