* E.ON says to hike UK energy prices
* Follows increases by Npower and Scottish Power
* Government says prepared to act if markets fail consumers
(Updates with government comment on rises)
By Susanna Twidale
LONDON, March 7 Britain said it was "prepared to
act" if markets fail consumers, as E.ON on Tuesday
became the latest of the country's big six energy providers to
announce price hikes.
The UK government is under pressure to help households
struggling with bills, while higher energy costs could
contribute to an increase in inflation which has already risen
sharply this year, leading to a cut back in spending.
"Wherever markets are not working for consumers, this
government is prepared to act," said a spokesman for the
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS),
responding to the E.ON price rise.
"We expect energy companies to treat their customers fairly
and continue to be concerned by these price rises which will hit
millions of people already paying more than they need to," he
said, without giving any further details on what the government
E.ON UK, the British arm of German utility E.ON, said its
standard dual fuel bill would rise by 8.8 percent from April 26.
This follows similar rises announced last month by
Innogy-owned Npower and Iberdrola-owned
E.ON said the rise in gas and electricity prices was due in
part to the escalating costs of government schemes to support
renewable electricity generation and to help customers use less
"It is an announcement we never want to make but is due in
large part to the fact that many of the costs we don't directly
control," E.ON UK chief executive Tony Cocker said in a
The government says its policies only make up a small
portion of household bills, and that by the 2020s bills will be
lower on average than they would have been without the
Britain's energy market regulator Ofgem said last month it
had the power to cap energy price tariffs but would not do this
without a strong signal from the government.
The majority of British households are on energy companies’
standard variable tariffs which can be much more expensive than
deals offered to new customers or those who have fixed their
(Editing by Alexander Smith and Mark Potter)