Despite the UK having some of the cheapest energy rates in Europe, prices have rocketed by 21% in only three years, leading the Labour Party to say it will act in government
The UK has some of the fastest rising energy prices in the world, despite energy companies claiming the country has the cheapest rates.
According to the House of Commons Library, British homes have seen their energy bills rise faster than the vast majority of developed countries. An increase of 21% in three years is the equivalent of a £221 rise per year, for the average household. Only Ireland has seen a greater increase in energy rates, with electricity prices jumping 24.7% in the past three years, compared with 23.5% in the UK.
The research was carried out using figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and energy data collected by the EU and International Energy Agency.
In the same time frame, the UK’s gas prices have risen by 33.85. A figure which is in line with the highest increases across the globe.
FALL IN PRICES
According to the research, electricity prices in a number of countries have fallen. Examples include Norway and Hungary, where costs actually dropped by 16.5% and 17.7%.
“This revelation certainly puts the UK’s relatively cheap energy prices into context,” said Ruth Bradshaw, Uswitch.com. “At present, countries such as Germany, Italy, Slovakia and Belgium all pay higher per unit energy rates. However, if the UK’s energy prices continue to rise at current levels, British homes could well end up paying some of the highest rates in Europe.”
The Labour Party has decided to make energy prices in the UK a major issue for the General Election next year. Shadow Energy Secretary, Caroline Flint has accused Prime Minister David Cameron for failing to keep energy bills in check.
“On David Cameron’s watch, energy bills in Britain have risen twice as fast as inflation, four times faster than wages and faster than almost any other country in the developed world,” she contended. “Where firms fail to meet standards there must be tough and decisive action.”
Ms Flint promised that should Labour be elected in May 2015, regulations would be brought in to remove licences from those energy companies that were shown to have consistently and deliberately broken the conditions of their operation. Labour has already stated that it would be prepared to abolish the industry regulator, Ofgem and replace it with a more effective body.
Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Labour has said 16 energy companies faced probes into mis-selling, poor customer service and ‘other bad practices’. Ms Flint believed these figures showed that the current government had “presided over a broken energy market”.
Caption Caroline Flint, Shadow Energy Secretary – current government had “presided over a broken energy market”.