In response to Scottish and Southern’s increase in gas prices, Audrey Gallacher, head of energy at Consumer Focus said:
‘Scottish and Southern’s (SSE)1 announcement of an increase in gas prices at the start of winter is the last thing its customers need. We are worried that this could be the start of some serious bad news for all consumers. While we hope that other companies don’t follow suit, history has shown us they adopt a pack mentality on pricing.
‘For the past year Consumer Focus has argued that companies should have reduced prices when wholesale costs were low. They did not and consumers missed out. SSE’s gas prices have fallen by 2 per cent since wholesale costs peaked in 2008, while the wholesale gas price is still more than 40 per cent lower than it was.’2
Response to this increase as part of wider changes in the energy market, Audrey Gallacher, head of energy at Consumer Focus said:
‘Today’s news comes against a backdrop of a bleak picture for household energy bills in the next decade. The pressure is building with volatile wholesale costs, huge levels of investment to combat climate change and other programmes which could hit consumers hard in the future.
‘It must be a priority for Government and all those involved in the design of the Green Deal to make it the centrepiece of a new strategic commitment to tackle fuel poverty. ‘Fuel poverty is rising with 4 million households in England now struggling to heat their homes.3 Any future Government strategy must be a real game-changer for those who get hit hardest by rising bills.
NOTES TO EDITORS
A graph showing the trend of wholesale gas prices against retail gas prices 2007 – 2010
1 Scottish and Southern (SSE) is the parent company of SWALEC, Southern Electric and Scottish Hydro.
|26-Aug-08||£801||87 NBP p/th|
|29-Oct-10||£715||51 NBP p/th|
|Decrease vs. Aug 08**||-2%||-42%|
*wholesale price is the average of the 30 days to that date.
**retail is: 26 Aug 08 vs. the estimated price on 1 Dec 10. Wholesale is 26 Aug 08 vs. 29 Oct 10.
Based on standard tariff, average for all distribution regions, medium usage (20,500kWh gas) and payment by receipt of bill.
3 Estimated regional fuel poverty figures in England for 2010
(Consumer Focus / CSE figures). Figures based on full income definition of fuel poverty.
|Government Office Region||2007 breakdown (no. of households and % of all households in region)||2010 breakdown(no. of households and % of all households in region)|
|Total||2,819,000 – 13%||4,021,000 – 18%|
|North East||206,000 – 18.6%||293,000 – 26%|
|Yorks and Humber||333,000 – 15.5%||467,000 – 21.2%|
|North West||472,000 – 16.1%||687,000 – 23%|
|East Midlands||272,000 – 14.8%||403,000 – 21.4%|
|West Midlands||383,000 – 17.2%||503,000 – 22.1%|
|South West||259,000 – 11.7%||367,000 – 16.1%|
|East of England||253,000 – 10.8%||386,000 – 16%|
|South East||333,000 – 9.5%||499,000 – 13.9%|
|London||309,000 – 10%||417,000 – 13.1%|
Note: London’s figures are likely to be an under-estimate due to the Government’s method of measuring fuel poverty (which includes benefits received for housing costs). This is because London’s housing costs are very high.