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Gas and electricity prices are expected to surge by 15 per cent in 2011, says a report in the Daly Mail newspaper.

The initial rises – up to five per cent later this month – will be followed by double-digit increases towards the end of the year.

Despite the fall in the oil price after the killing of Al Quaeda boss Bin Laden, continued instability in the Middle East and North Africa, the Japanese nuclear catastrophe and surging demand from the booming economies of China and India are all playing in to price rises.  A weak and ineffectual regulator is also partly to blame.

Under new regulations, energy companies must give customers 30 days’ warning before imposing price increases but that will simply add a slight delay.

The wholesale gas price for the next two years has hit 70p a therm – a 56 per cent rise on the price last April of 45p.

In the past two months, seven of the best deals have been pulled, including the cheapest internet tariff – the EDF Online S@ver v8 at £876 a year for the average customer, a typical saving of £274.

The latest offer to be withdrawn is the company’s Fixed Price deal running until 2013 at an average £1,019, which offered a typical saving of £131.

Mark Todd, director of Energyhelpline said: ‘Suppliers are seeing wholesale prices continue to rise because of world events and many investors are not happy with the profitability levels of some energy companies.

‘They want prices to be increased even more on top of the recent average rise of 5.9 per cent over winter.

 

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