npower hits customers for six

It’s been another mixed summer – but the sun always shines on Britain’s energy companies.

Test cricket sponsor npower is the latest to hike up its prices – today announcing a 15.7% rise in gas bills and 7.2% for electricity.

This despite its parent company, RWE, having just celebrated a 130% increase in profits for the first half of 2011. Its British operations made operating profits of £309 million in the six months to the end of June.

As Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said today: “Given such healthy results, people are bound to wonder why their domestic bills have to go up this much.”

Throughout the summer the big energy suppliers have been queuing up to drive up their prices: Scottish Power by 19% (gas) and 10% (electricity); British Gas by 18% and 16%; SSE by 18% and 11%; and E.ON 18% and 11.4%.

Mr Lloyd added: “The Bank of England has predicted that rising utility bills will drive inflation to 5% by the end of the year, which will put more pressure on already squeezed households.”

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