Era of cheap energy 'is over'

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The era of cheap energy is over and the government must focus its efforts on helping those struggling with rising costs, according to the UK's business secretary.

John Hutton said that there was "genuine concern" about the difficulties being faced by a number of households and claimed that authorities are looking at providing "extra support".

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the minister also defended energy firms that have both increased their prices and announced profits in recent weeks.

He claimed that the good financial results would help to attract businesses to the UK and could be beneficial to consumers in the long run.

"Making a profit is better than making a loss and if we want these companies to invest significant resources investors are not going to do that if they don't think there's a reasonable return to be made on their investment," he explained.

The Energy Retail Association's chief executive, Garry Felgate, recently stated that energy providers do not make the decision to increase their prices lightly.

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