Energy prices "relatively good", insists Huhne

Energy Secretary believes the bills facing British consumers are less than those abroad.

The Energy Secretary Chris Huhne today insisted that despite the rising costs of gas and electricity bills facing British consumers, energy prices in the UK are "relatively good compared to other countries."

Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Mr Huhne said that the so-called big six energy producers, British Gas, Scottish Power, Scottish & Southern Energy, EDF, E.On and Npower, which supply 99 per cent of British consumers "are not the salvation army" and should be expected to "earn respectable returns for their shareholders". He continued; arguing that "85 per cent of us never even bother looking to see if we could switch."

This comment is reminiscent of a remark Huhne made last month, when he appeared to blame consumers for their failure to find the best energy deals available, stating, "They frankly spend less time shopping around for a bill that's on average more than £1,000 a year than they would shop around for a £25 toaster."

The government will call representatives of Britain's six largest energy suppliers to a meeting next week to push forward with its policy of encouraging increased competition within the energy industry."We can do a whole lot more to make that market competitive", Huhne said this morning.