Industrial users are facing rises of up to 10% on their electricity bills from the beginning of October, it emerged this week.
The Major Energy Users’ Council, which represents consumers of 100kW and above, said members trying to negotiate year-long contracts from 1 October were being asked to pay 5-10% more than the prices in their present contracts.
‘Some are actually above 10%,’ said Don McGarrigle, the chairman of the MEUC’s electricity group.
The sharp increase has stunned users after four years of falling prices and predictions by the industry regulator, Professor Stephen Littlechild, that pool prices would fall a further 4% in real terms in each of the next two years.
‘It’s going to be a very fraught contract round,’ said McGarrigle.
The increase comes as regional electricity companies are threatening to ask the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to review new price caps that Prof Littlechild has proposed should take effect from next April.
Some large users suspect that the increase in the figures they are being quoted is intended to pay for an inevitable cut in the prices charged to domestic customers from next year.