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EDF Energy has announced further rises in gas and electricity prices for UK customers, blaming rising wholesale prices and the costs of delivering UK energy policy for eating into margins.

The company was the first major energy provider to announce an increase in electricity prices last December. Four of the other “big six” providers have since followed suit, with only British Gas keeping prices on hold.

However, on Wednesday EDF said it would also increase the price of variable gas tariffs from June 21.

The two rises together will affect around 1.5m customers, and lead to an 8.5 per cent increase in bills for a dual fuel direct debit customer. However, the company said the “overall increase is less than the recent increases by a number of other major and new suppliers”, and “still leaves EDF Energy with the lowest variable gas tariff of all major suppliers”.

The company said it has “faced a range of rising costs for some time, in both wholesale energy and non-wholesale energy costs and obligations”.

Other providers including SSE have highlighted the costs of government programmes to upgrade Britain’s ageing energy infrastructure.

EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said:

I know that price rises are never welcome, but the industry is facing significant cost increases. To be a sustainable and responsible business, we aim to make a fair margin in supplying customers. This fair margin allows us to invest for the long term, in particular in good service, innovation and smart metering. It also allows us to help more customers choose the right tariff for them. We have cut all the costs under our control without compromising our customer service.

We accept that the Government, regulators and consumers groups have concerns about the way markets work for customers, particularly the energy market. We will continue to work with them constructively for the benefit of customers.

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