Speculation over British Gas price hike sparks calls for a “genuine alternative” to big energy companies
- Credit: PA
Energy campaigners are calling on the government to invest more in public energy companies following speculation that British Gas could drop a 9% bills increase on its customers.
The country's biggest energy company was reportedly working on plans which would see a £94 average increase for millions of households for dual gas and electricity fuel bills, according to the Evening Standard.
The move would follow hot on the heels of a 9.8% price increase by rival NPower for dual fuel customers.
Laura Hill, from the Switched On campaign group, said a solution lay in the establishment of local public energy companies by the government to provide 'a genuine alternative' to 'rip-off merchants'.
She said British Gas' speculated move would 'really hurt hard pressed households, many of whom spent the winter months shivering in their homes'.
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'By setting up local public energy companies that put affordable bills before profit, the government can ensure people are able to heat their homes. This is a basic need, not a luxury.'
EDF also hiked prices in December, and experts believe other energy providers may follow suit in the coming months in the face of rising wholesale energy costs.
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On Tuesday energy regulator Ofgem stepped in, setting a temporary price cap aimed at protecting over four million households who prepay for their energy.
British Gas owner Centrica said it 'never speculates on future pricing decisions'.