London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — January 8, 2008 – Utilities in the U.K. have already announced – or are shortly expected to announce – hikes in their tariffs for electricity and gas, citing the high price of oil as a major contributing factor. Of the larger utilities in the country British Gas has told customers that their gas bills will be increased by 13 percent, with electric costs rising by 15 percent, while npower has also announced increases in both electric and gas tariffs. The other large utilities are expected to follow suit, with increases averaging around 15 percent.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, has asked energy regulator Ofgem to comment on the proposed increases, amidst public perception that utilities are quick to hike tariffs when wholesale energy prices rise, yet reluctant to pass on the benefits of a fall in these prices. He has requested in particular Ofgem’s views on the relationship between wholesale price movements and their effect on domestic retail prices.