Energy supplier 'needed to increase prices'

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A leading UK energy supplier has stated that it needed to increase its prices earlier this year in order to avoid losing money.

Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of British Gas's parent company Centrica, has stated that rising wholesale prices were the major reason for the company's rising costs, as they make up 50 per cent of what customers pay in bills.

In a column on the Guardian's Comment is Free blog, he also stated that the energy supplier's own profits only account for three per cent of the prices that clients pay.

"Swings in the wholesale price of well over 50 per cent are vastly more significant in relation to what customers pay than a movement of a couple of percentage points in retail price margins," he explained.

"There is no evidence to suggest the increase in wholesale market prices is driven by anti-competitive behaviour."

British Gas increased its gas and electricity prices by 15 per cent in the middle of January.

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