Challenger supplier raises energy prices 5 per cent

Consumer body Which? has warned that customers will be “outraged” by price hikes which were revealed by Co-operative Energy today.

The challenger supplier – which acted as supplier of last resort for 160,000 customers after GB Energy Supply went bust last year – announced that it will raise electricity prices by 7.6 per cent and gas prices by 3 per cent. The average dual fuel tariff will increase by 5 per cent and all changes will come into effect on 1 April.

Alex Neill, managing director of home and legal services at Which? said: “Co-op Energy’s price rise is another blow for customers, who will be outraged that their energy bills are set to go up when the regulator suggested that inflation busting rises are unnecessary.”

Neil added that “millions” of energy customers are suffering due to “lack of competition in this [the energy] market”. She urged government and Ofgem to “step in” if energy suppliers “fail to properly engage with their customers”.

At a parliamentary committee hearing yesterday, Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said that he thought Npower’s recent price increase of almost 10 per cent would prove unprofitable as it would spark a customer exodus.

A spokesperson for Co-op Energy said that it is in the process of writing to all of its effected customers to explain the price increased on the standard tariff and highlight opporuntities to enjoy better deals with the company.

They also said that although the supplier tries to “protect customers from price fluctuations”, recent months have forced it to absorb “a number of rising costs” including “network charges and industry obligations” which made price increases inevitable.

They spokesperson concluded: “This is no longer sustainable and we have reluctantly taken the decision to pass on some of these costs to customers by increasing the Green Pioneer standard variable tariff by an average of five per cent.”