Scotland business

Scottish Gas price hike hits north of Scotland hardest

Scottish Gas customers in the north of Scotland are facing higher bills than the rest of the UK, after a decision by owners Centrica to increase prices.

The price rise will see an average UK dual-fuel bill going up by 9.2% from 23 November.

But regional differences mean domestic customers living north of Perth will see an average rise of 11.2% - the biggest in the UK.

Customers in the south of Scotland will see an average increase of 9.5%.

The smallest rise is a 6.8% increase in the south west of England.

Scotland's electricity transmission network is split between Scottish Hydro in the north and Scottish Power which holds the licence for central and southern Scotland.

Centrica, which owns the British Gas and Scottish Gas brands, said its regional price differences reflected variations in the network costs it was obliged to pay to the transmission companies around the country.

Rival SSE has already announced an 8.2% increase in bills from 15 November.

The Centrica move, which will affect nearly eight million people in the UK, includes an average 8.4% rise in gas prices and a 10.4% increase in electricity prices.

The company said it "understands the frustration" of prices rising faster than incomes. The average annual household bill will go up by £123.

On average, UK customers will see a dual-fuel bill increase to £1,444 a year.

Between August and December last year, the "big six" energy companies outlined price rises of between 6% and 10.8%.

Ofgem response

Energy regulator Ofgem said prices were determined by suppliers competing in the British energy market and it was up to them to justify their prices and profits to consumers.

An Ofgem spokeswoman said: "Any price rise will not be welcomed by customers which is why it is important that Scottish Gas fully explain the reasons for the increase.

"Energy suppliers should be doing all they can to minimise the impact of these rising costs on energy bills by ensuring they are managing their costs as efficiently as possible.

"Suppliers must also ensure they are giving customers all the advice and help they need to save money on their energy bills, for example through energy efficiency."

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