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Gas prices are linked to oil prices, which have been running at high levels in recent years.

High oil prices influence the European gas market and from there, the UK wholesale gas market.

British energy suppliers say they have had to increase domestic bills because of wholesale rises.

The wholesale price is now dropping but suppliers say they cannot yet pass this on to the consumer because they paid in advance for the winter supply.

The wholesale gas market also affects electricity bills as 39% of the UK's electricity is generated from gas.

Graphic of the UK wholesale price of gas since Jan 2003

Pie chart of which energy sources are most used by householders; and breakdown of cost components of bills

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