Npower has followed the lead of its competitors by announcing significant rises to the price of its electricity and gas, with hikes of 7.2 per cent and 15.7 per cent respectively.
It is the fifth of the ‘big six’ energy companies to announce plans to raise prices over the past few months. Rival firm EDF is the only firm which is yet to reveal its hand. The familiar reasoning of volatile wholesale energy market has been the all too familiar party line trotted out by NPower in its defence.
Company spokesman Kevin Miles struck a conciliatory tone: "I know it hurts everyone when we put up prices and I wish we did not have to," he said. "Although our half year profits were better than last year they do not begin to match the billions of pounds we are investing in energy for the future."
Meanwhile, Richard Lloyd, chief executive of the consumers' association Which?, criticised the prices rises. "The Bank of England has predicted that rising utility bills will drive inflation to 5 per cent by the end of the year, which will put more pressure on already squeezed households," he said. "It is critical that Npower and all suppliers do more to help customers cut their energy bills - whether that is by getting onto the cheapest tariff or making their homes more energy efficient."