Southside MSPs critical of energy price-hike

DEPUTY first minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed her dismay at the latest hike in energy prices while Green MSP, Patrick Harvie, has called for public ownership of the power firms.

Npower, one of the big six energy suppliers, is the latest to announce an increase, which will mean 10.4 per cent added to consumers’ bills.

The announcement follows similar hikes by SSE (8.2%) and British Gas (9.2%).

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Npower’s move will mean an increase in electricity of 9.3% and in gas of 11.1%.

It is assumed the rise will add an extra £137 to make an dual annual bill £1,459.

Ms Sturgeon, an MSP for Glasgow Southside, criticised the increase. Ms Sturgeon said: “It is extremely disappointing that Npower has followed British Gas and SSE with a significant hike in fuel prices, which will cause a 10.4% increase to households – many of which are already struggling to pay their energy bills.”

It is expected that the other big energy firms will follow with their own price rises. One of the reasons they cite for the increase is an obligation to government directives about environmental concerns.

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But southsider Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Green Party, refuted this: “Social and environmental levies are a small proportion of customer bills — the real issue is breaking the stranglehold the Big Six have on the market.

“We also need to see more public ownership and community control of our energy assets so that the public interest comes before private profit.”

Chief exective of Npower, Paul Masara said yesterday: “I know that any increases to household bills is always unwelcome, and this is not a decision that we have taken lightly.

“We will continue to take steps where we can reduce the impact of the external influences on energy bills.”

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The company echoed the reasons of other energy firms in citing the cost increases in delivering energy to homes, carrying out government schemes and cost of raw materials.

An Npower spokesperson said: “When Tesco puts up the price of a loaf of bread by 5p, no one is surprised if Sainsbury’s do the same because they are subject to the same costs.”