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Npower will increase its standard energy bills by almost 10 per cent from next month in response to rising global energy prices.

The company said the changes, which will come into effect on March 16, will increase a typical dual fuel energy bill by £109 a year, or 9.8 per cent.

The move will affect around half of its 2.8m UK customers, as npower has a higher percentage of customers on fixed-rate tariffs than most of its rivals. It also said it would launch a new four-year fixed term tariff that will be available to existing standard customers.

The company attributed the increase to rising wholesale energy costs and the cost of meeting government targets on measures such as smart metering and renewable energy.

The change, npower’s first price hike in three years, follows a similar rise from energy provider EDF announced before Christmas.

Simon Stacey, npower managing director for domestic markets, said:

This is a hugely difficult decision, and we’ve delayed the date this takes effect until after the coldest months of the year. We’ve also made sure that our most vulnerable customers won’t see any impact until May.

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