Energy regulator Ofgem predicts more profits for 'Big Six' firms

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Ofgem has predicted the 'Big Six' energy companies will make a record profit this year - despite the cost of energy on the wholesale market dropping.

The energy regulator claims the average bill is now £1,420, with an estimated profit for next year now standing at £110 per household.

The average household bill has risen eight per cent, although the cost of energy on the wholesale market has actually dropped.

Ofgem said: "Trust in energy suppliers can only be restored if suppliers give a full and transparent explanation of price and profits to their customers."

With the budget due today (March 20), households across the UK are already preparing to tighten their purse strings, but the energy firms have been put more intensely under the spotlight in the face of announcements of profit increases and increased energy bills.

Energy and Climate Change Committee chairman, Tim Yeo, said: "The suspicion of consumers is the power companies are exploiting the market to their own advantage."

However, energy firms have disputed the predictions from Ofgem.

British Gas said it did not expect to see an increase in profit margins this year, while EDF Energy told The Sunday Times it had actually made a loss on its residential business over the last three years.

The Government has looked at ways to help homeowners, introducing a number of new schemes such as the Green Deal which offers homeowners subsidies on measures to make their home more efficient, such as by fitting an energy efficient boiler or loft insulation.

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