Second EDF Energy price rise will cause ‘real anxiety’ to vulnerable customers

Norman Kerr

Norman Kerr

It will be a case of ‘deja-vu’ for many customers of EDF Energy as the company puts its prices up for the second time in a matter of months.

Customers on its standard variable tariffs will see increases come in soon ranging from 5.5% for gas to 9% for electricity.

However, EDF had already made price changes recently with an electricity price increase of 8.4% on 1 March but a gas price cut of 5.2% in January.

As a result, the combined effect of both sets of price changes mean that a dual fuel direct debit customer will now have a price increase of 8.5%.

But the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland is most concerned that yet again customers reliant on electricity for heating as well as other power use are experiencing the biggest rises in price. For households living off the mains gas grid, this will be another increased burden on their living expenses.

For people budgeting carefully to make ends meet, this new set of increases will make life harder and cause real anxiety.

The rebate being offered to vulnerable customers will help but the impact of these increases will be on-going.

EDF are also taking steps to encourage customers to review their arrangements and to move off standard variable tariffs and on to fixed rates and direct debit in order to maximise savings and it is right that they are offering customers advice on this as it is important that the choices made are right for each customer’s circumstances.

Norman Kerr, director of Energy Action Scotland, said: “This year the Scottish Government is reviewing its fuel poverty strategy and so it has a major opportunity to set out plans for how it will make real in-roads into the problem of cold, damp and unaffordable to heat homes.

“Right now the Scottish Government is consulting on its energy strategy and we believe it is important that the new strategy takes full cognisance of the need to reduce energy demand as much as how to meet existing demand for energy in Scotland.

“Government at all levels needs to consider carefully how best to make domestic energy bills more affordable.”

Energy regulator Ofgem said the price increase was hard to justify.

Chief executive Dermot Nolan said: “EDF’s second price rise in four months, when there has not been a dramatic rise in wholesale energy prices since it last put up prices, is difficult to justify and is further evidence that the energy market is not working in all consumers’ interests.”

EDF said it would be contacting all customers on standard variable tariffs to review their situation.

The company is also introducing a new three-year fixed deal.

“I know that price rises are never welcome, but the industry is facing significant cost increases,” said EDF’s chief executive, Vincent de Rivaz.

“To be a sustainable and responsible business, we aim to make a fair margin in supplying customers. This fair margin allows us to invest for the long term, in particular in good service, innovation and smart metering.”

Four of the big five suppliers have announced price rises this year:

  • Npower increased its electricity prices by 15% and gas prices by 4.8% on 16 March
  • On is due to put up electricity prices by 13.8% and gas prices by 3.8% on 26 April
  • Scottish Power raised its electricity prices by 10.8% and gas prices by 4.7% on 31 March
  • EDF, combining previous prices changes with those in June, will raise electricity prices by 18.1%, but gas prices will stay the same
  • British Gas has announced a price freeze until August.