E.On has become the latest energy company in the UK to announce a significant price hike, raising its bills by 18 per cent.

On 13 September the company’s 5 million customers will see gas bills rise by 18 per cent and electricity bills increase by 11 per cent.

The company blamed the increase on the fact that wholesale energy had become more expensive to buy. Global events such as the Japanese earthquake and conflict in the Middle East had a dramatic impact on the price of power over a short period of time, said a spokesperson.

Comparison service uSwitch said that the new price hike, in addition to the previous increase in early 2011, meant that E.ON customers would be charged an extra 22 per cent this year, pushing up the average bill by £232 to £1,293.

By comparison Scottish Power customers, whose price rise came into effect at the start of August, have seen their bills rise by £239 per cent in the space of a year, while British Gas customers will pay £256 more and Scottish & Southern Energy will pay an extra £227.

Experts said that it would only be a matter of time before the two remaining large energy providers, EDF and Npower, set their own price increase.

“We’re facing an across the board price hike and very few households will be escaping the impact of a double digit price rise on their energy bills this year,” said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.

Consumer Focus called for action from the energy regulator Ofgem to tackle the increase in consumer prices, pointing out that wholesale costs are around a third lower than their 2008 peak.

Households worried about their bills are being urged to sign up to a fixed tariff. The best on the market remains EDF Energy’s Fix Saver v2, which has annual bills of £1,009 on average.

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