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Cameron calls for cuts in energy costs

The Government needs to work to bring down energy bills and create a 'trusted, simple and transparent' environment for customers the Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Speaking ahead of a summit with the 'Big Six' energy companies, Ofgem and consumer groups to discuss gas and electricity prices, David Cameron has voiced his goals for the industry so that consumers can be better prepared for winter.

In a joint statement to the Prime Minister and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said: 'We can't control volatile world energy prices. But we can still help people get their bills down. So today we are bringing together the industry, consumer groups and [regulator] Ofgem for an energy summit that will focus on getting people the help they need to reduce their bills in time for this winter.'

Our intention is for today's summit to be the start of a much more active engagement with consumers, with us all working harder and faster to deliver an energy market that is trusted, simple and transparent. A market that puts the consumer first and gets these energy bills down as much as possible.'

Speaking to the BBC, Phil Bentley the managing director of British Gas said that prices would have to increase in the longer term because of the rising cost of gas on the international market. Mr Bentley said: 'We are importing 50 per cent of the gas that comes into Britain and we are having to compete for sources from the Middle East - Japan is importing huge amounts of gas on ships and that was gas that used to come into the UK market. It is an inconvenient truth that unit prices of energy are going to go up.'

Ofgem recently predicted a rise in firms' prospective profit margins from £15 to £125 per customer although these figures were challenged by the industry. The regulator has also announced a simplification plan in order for customers to compare prices more easily and simplify tariffs.

British Gas and Npower are expected not to raise prices again this year, and SSE has announced that it will not raise prices until at least August 2012.

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17 October 2011


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