Centrica Boss Phil Bentley defends gas prices rises
British Gas owner Centrica says it is raising gas prices by a record 35% and electricity prices by 9%.
The UK's biggest domestic energy supplier said that the price hikes would take place with immediate effect.
It blamed "soaring wholesale energy prices", but added that standard tariff prices would not rise again in 2008.
The move comes just a few days after rival EDF Energy put up gas prices by 22% and electricity prices by 17%, with other firms expected to follow suit.
Watchdog Energywatch said it believed the 35% gas bill rise was the biggest single increase in the price of a utility seen to date.
British Gas, which has 15.9 million customers, also announced that its profits for the first half of the year were down by 69% to £166m.
Centrica said the average dual fuel bill for a British Gas customer would go up by 25% - putting the average household bill at about £1,240. This is the second increase this year, after a 15% rise in bills in January.
"We very much regret that we have had to make this decision at a time when many household budgets are already under pressure," said British Gas managing director Phil Bentley.
"The simple fact though is that we have entered an era of unprecedented high world energy prices."
PRICE CHANGES FOR DUAL FUEL BRITISH GAS CUSTOMERS
Average direct debit from £968 to £1,240
Average standard credit from £1,055 to £1,317
Average pre-paid meter from £1,144 to £1,383
Source: British Gas, figures are based on a medium usage customer
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