Britain's SSE to freeze energy prices this winter

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - SSE, one of Britain’s “big six” energy suppliers, has frozen its standard energy prices this winter, it said on Friday, putting pressure on its rivals to do the same.

British wholesale gas and electricity prices have risen about 30 and 40 percent respectively since June, along with a bounce-back in other commodities such as coal, leading to speculation that some electricity suppliers could raise prices.

“We understand that the prospect of increasing bills during the colder months is a real concern for customers, particularly as they start to turn up the heating,” Will Morris, SSE managing director, Retail, said in a statement.

SSE said prices would not rise until April 2017 at the earliest.

The move puts pressure on rivals Iberdrola’s Scottish Power, Centrica’s British Gas, RWE’s npower , E.ON and EDF Energy, to do the same.

Energy bills have doubled in Britain over the past decade to about 1,200 pounds ($1,640) a year, and the government has said it could intervene in the market if it believes prices are too high. (Reporting by Susanna Twidale. Editing by Jane Merriman)