EDF Energy surprises many with rate hike

July 25, 2008 at 3:51 PM
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LONDON, July 25 (UPI) -- French-owned EDF Energy raised rates in Britain without warning Friday, jumping gas prices by 20 percent and electricity rates 17 percent, officials said.

The hike pushes bills up $8 a week or $400 a year for most customers, the Times of London reported Friday.

The company blamed rising oil prices.

"Alongside unprecedented rises in wholesale coal and electricity costs, this (oil prices) has impacted hugely on the cost of supplying energy to our customers," Operating Officer of EDF Energy Customers Branch Eva Eisenschimmel said.

"We have been absorbing some of these costs in recent months, but we now have to pass on some of the resulting rise in wholesale costs to our customers," she said.

Analysts predicted the other major energy producers for Britain would quickly follow EDF's lead, the report said.

British Gas, the country's largest energy supplier, is expected to report a decline in profits from residential sales in its next financial report. Last week, British Gas estimated gas costs for its residential customers could reach $2,000 a year within the next two years, the Times reported.

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