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Energy Insights: Energy News: Energy Prices: MPs To Turn Up Heat On 'Big Six'

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Energy Prices: MPs To Turn Up Heat On 'Big Six'



The bosses of Britain's energy giants will be asked to justify recent energy bill hikes, which have provoked widespread anger.

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Video: Doubts Over Energy Price Rises

British Gas (From Nov 23)EDF nPower (From Dec 1)E.ONScottishPower (From Dec 6) SSE (From Nov 15)The average UK dual fuel annual bills(in ) at the "big six" energy firmsbased on a medium user on astandard tariff, paying quarterly by c...1,2501,3101,3701,4301,4901,5501,4711,3321,4911,3701,4801,460


Graph: Compare Prices Between Major Energy ProviderS

Executives from Britain's biggest power companies will appear before a panel of MPs today to justify their most recent round of price hikes.

British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power and Npower have raised household bills by an average 9.1% for this winter. E.ON and EDF are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

They all say mounting wholesale costs are partly to blame.

But data from the energy regulator Ofgem show those prices have only gone up by 1.7% over the past year and should only add 10 to a bill.

Mark Todd, co-founder of the EnergyHelpline website, told Sky News: "I can't see a reason a why an energy company could really say that wholesale gas and electricity price increases are the main reason for these hikes.

"They need to increase their profits, their own take is going up.

"They do have to pay these green levies, they are going up dramatically, and also the transmission costs are going up dramatically. Wholesale costs, no. But other costs, yes."

The Energy and Climate Change Committee will take evidence from Tony Cocker, the chief executive of E.ON, the boss of British Gas' Energy division, Ian Peters and representatives from SSE, Npower, EDF Energy and Co-operative Energy from 1pm.

MPs will grill bosses on the different pricing policies between energy suppliers, improving transparency of their profits and ask them to justify the most recent round of price hikes.

Andrew Wright, interim chief executive of Ofgem will also appear before MPs.

UK households pay some of the lowest energy tariffs in Europe.

Jillian Ambrose, from energy information provider Platts, said: "Gas prices have been going up.

"It is a global market at the end of the day and something as far removed as the Fukushima disaster has had a big impact on UK gas prices.

"Japan have shut reactors and they are more dependent on gas than ever and they are willing to pay for it. So in a global market the UK needs to compete and those prices have reflected that."

* Watch MPs question representatives from the Big Six on Sky News from 2.30pm.

* Watch a live debate on energy between shadow energy minister Caroline Flint and energy minister Michael Fallon at 5.30pm on Sky News.

* There is a special edition of Jeff Randall Live tonight looking at the energy crisis. Watch on Sky News from 7pm.

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