LONDON Dec 6 E.ON is to raise energy
prices for British households by 3.7 percent, announcing the
lowest price hike of the "big six" utilities after factoring in
the government's removal of some environmental and social levies
Soaring energy costs have become a big political issue in
Britain after other firms hiked prices by an average 8 percent
in the autumn - more than three times the rate of inflation.
The government on Monday detailed a plan to help cut energy
bills as part of its effort to seize the initiative from the
opposition Labour party which has promised a temporary energy
price freeze if it wins the next election.
The government plan will result in average bills falling by
around 50 pounds, it said, meaning the average increase for big
six customers could fall to between 4 and 5 percent.
"The likelihood of further price rises over the next 18
months caused by an increase in the cost of social and
environmental obligations has receded due to the recent action
taken by the government," E.ON UK's chief executive Tony Cocker
said in a statement on Friday.
With an election in Spring 2015, limited energy bill
inflation will please the government as the cost of everything
from heating to rail tickets takes centre stage in domestic
politics amid Labour's efforts to shift voters' attention from
the return of economic growth onto a fall in their real incomes.
E.ON, the last of the big six to raise prices this winter,
said its increase would take effect from Jan. 18.
Britain's big six energy companies - E.ON plus British Gas
owner Centrica, SSE, RWE's npower,
Iberdrola's Scottish Power, EDF Energy -
supply 98 percent of the country's homes.
EDF in November said it would raise gas and electricity
prices by 3.9 percent, pre-empting the government's move to
roll-back some social and environmental charges.