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EDF announces 10.8 per cent hike in energy prices

EDF becomes fifth of the “Big Six” providers to raise tariff prices.

From 7 December, three million UK customers will face a yearly increase of £122 on their energy bills after EDF Energy announced a 10.8 percent price increase – five times higher than the rate of inflation.

The announcement comes just weeks after British Gas, Scottish Power, and npower announced tariff increases of 6 per cent, 8.7 per cent, and 9 percent respectively. EDF’s price hike is the highest imposed by any energy company this year.

E.On remains the only supplier of the “Big Six” yet to announce price rises after pledging earlier in the year to maintain residential pricing rates in 2012. However, they are expected to announce price increases earlier 2013.

Providers have blamed their price hikes on a combination of rising costs in the use of gas and electricity networks, mandatory energy efficiency schemes and general  increases in the price of wholesale energy.  

As winter fast approaches, rising prices are forcing consumers to ration their energy usage despite the cold, fuelling arguments that energy providers are behaving irresponsibly.

Tomorrow, pensioners are expected to protest at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London, to raise awareness of the impact of recent tax hikes upon fuel poverty.

A spokesman of Fuel Poverty Action, the group organising the protest said:

“People are fed up with our energy being produced to line the pockets of the ‘big six’ while we’re left to suffer mammoth fuel bills and escalating climate change. Saturday’s protest, led by pensioners, will be the first of many. Expect a winter of resistance”.

Another blow to consumers is likely to come as price hikes are expected to produce added inflationary pressure on the economy, despite inflation rates easing earlier this month to their lowest since november 2009.

The highly contentious nature of year-on-year price increases from energy providers has prompted extensive political debate. In a blog post for, Prime Minister David Cameron voiced his concern over the recent price hikes:

“These price rises couldn’t come at a worse time for consumers who are already feeling the pinch from rising petrol prices and the cost of the weekly shop”.

Earlier this month, Ofgem unveiled plans to ensure that providers offered the cheapest tariffs available to their customers to avoid unnecessary over-charging. More details will be outlined in the Energy Bill in the next few weeks.

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint MP, on the other hand, said that Labour would dissolve Ofgem altogether:

“The time has come for a complete overhaul of our energy market”

“We need a One Nation government to break the dominance of the energy giants, protect vulnerable customers from being ripped off, and create a  tough new energy regulator with the power to force energy companies to pass on savings to consumers”.

Alex Ward is a London-based freelance journalist who has previously worked for the Times & the Press Association. Twitter: @alexward3000

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Lord Geoffrey Howe dies, age 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.