BRITISH Gas triggered angry last night with inflation-busting increases in bills that will add almost £200 a year to the cost of heat and light.
The news will send a shiver through the 13 million families the firm serves – roughly half the country – against a background of the biggest squeeze on living standards in generations.
Gas is going up 18 per cent and electricity by 16 per cent next month, taking the average annual dual-fuel bill to a record £1,288 reports the Daily Mail.
The surge in bills is being accelerated by a host of controversial ‘green’ taxes designed to drive a shift to wind, wave, solar and nuclear power.
These add around £100 a year to energy bills, according to the industry regulator Ofgem, though experts suggest the figure could be as much as £150.
The energy companies claim the price rises are necessary to reflect increases in the cost of gas and electricity on international wholesale markets.
However, this is rejected by the official customer body Consumer Focus. It points out that the current wholesale gas price is 29 per cent less than in the summer of 2008.