Npower boss says energy firms not to blame for increased energy bills

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The boss of UK energy firm NPower has said that energy firms cannot be blamed for the huge bill hikes which have seen consumers increasingly out of pocket.

Energy bills have gone up a staggering 170% in the last decade, but Paul Massara says it is unfair to place the blame at energy providers doors.

Instead, Mr Massara blames the government and its various schemes designed to help out the most impoverished households in the UK.

Speaking to This is Money he said that despite the good intention of such schemes, it was not always to the benefit of the average household energy bill payer.

He said: "Fuel poverty isn't going to go away. As bills go up, it becomes a bigger issue.

"We need to look at it as an industry. There are problems with the housing stock and the way people use energy. But some of the programmes have made things very difficult."

NPower are part of schemes including the Warm Home Discount Scheme, but the NPower chief specifically points the finger at  the Community Energy Saving Programme and similar ones of its ilk as the ones causing most issues.

Under that scheme, energy suppliers were required to provide energy efficiency measures to households considered particularly vulnerable.

However in his interview with This is Money, Mr Massara said that it has hard to understand how each household in the UK was paying around £100 to help find out exactly who in the country is in fuel poverty, but at the same time through schemes like the winter fuel allowance, money was going to millionaires.

Mr Massara went on to suggest that more than two-thirds of the firms recent hikes, which included a bump in gas bills by 8.8% and electricity bills by 9.1%, were down to such schemes.

He said: "One of the major reasons is a larger part of the bill is related to Government decisions.

"Whether that's tariffs or subsidies for green energy or nuclear, that's adding to people's bills.

"And yet somehow this issue has been landed at our doorstop."

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