Eon has blamed increasing costs associated with delivering UK energy policy and other expenses outside of its control for a near 9 per cent increase in household bills from next month.
The German utility company is the latest “big six” supplier to raise prices following similar moves from Npower and ScottishPower. EDF Energy, another big six supplier, has also raised its electricity prices.
The move, which will affect 62 per cent, or 2.5m, of Eon’s household customers, will do little to soothe relations between utility companies and the government over household bills.
The government is facing pressure to take further action on the energy sector, including, potentially, introducing a cap on so-called standard variable tariffs.
Around 20m British households are on SVTs which tend to be more expensive than fixed deals and have become the focus of recent debate around rising prices.
Eon said on Tuesday that prices for customers on the standard tariff, who buy both gas and electricity, will rise by an average of 8.8 per cent from April 26th. Electricity-only prices will rise by an average of 13.8 per cent while standard gas prices will increase by an average of 3.8 per cent.
Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, has previously said there is no “obvious” reason for utility companies to increase prices this year, given that many of them have hedging policies through which they purchase energy as much as two years in advance.
But Eon’s chief executive, Tony Cocker, said the move “in large part” due to “many of the costs we don’t directly control”. He cited schemes such as the Renewables Obligation, a subsidy scheme for renewables projects in the UK.
Mr Cocker added: “We have been able to partially offset some of these rises through our wholesale hedging policy and other means, but we do have to make an increase.”