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New figures showing UK energy prices rising fastest in Europe no surprise, says Energy Advice Line
New figures showing Britain's household energy bills were rising faster than in most countries in the developed world came as no surprise to UK consumers, according to the Energy Advice Line.
Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said the figures confirmed why British households had felt battered by energy price rises in recent years.
Research carried out by the House of Commons Library based on Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) figures and EU data, shows UK consumers faced three years of energy price rises experienced by only a handful of other countries.
Ireland, with an electricity price rise of 24.7%, was the only country to rank above the UK's 23.5% hike.
"This research is in stark contrast to assurances by the DECC last year that domestic energy bills for UK households was "fairly average" compared with the rest of Europe," Mr Morgan said.
"UK consumers, many of whom have faced the "heat or eat" choice because of skyrocketing bills, knew this assurance did not ring true, and the new research proves they were right.
"Measured in kilowatt hours, the UK does not have the highest electricity costs, that is true. But in terms of prices rises, UK is among the leaders, and this has been disastrous for British households."
Labour, which has pledged to freeze energy prices until 2017 if it wins office, will this week use the research as a backdrop to announce further proposals to reform the energy market.
According to newspaper reports, Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint will claim that household energy bills in the UK have risen four times as fast as wages since 2010.
"There is no doubt that the spiraling cost of energy has been a major contributor to the cost-of-living crisis in the UK, " Mr Morgan said.
"We look forward to hearing more about Labour's plans to reform the energy market to open it up to more competition.
"We have previously expressed concerns, widely shared in the industry, that Labour's pledge to freeze energy prices was little more than a gimmick.
"We hope the forthcoming announcements will involve genuine market reforms, not cynical vote-catching promises, that will benefit all consumers."
The research will make uncomfortable reading for Energy Secretary Ed Davey with its underlying warning that the outlook for energy prices in the UK could get worse.
Mr Morgan said the continuing message from industry analysts and the energy regulator, Ofgem, was for consumers to regularly check market prices to ensure they remained on the cheapest energy deals.
"We keep saying it, but it remains truer than ever: the only way to ensure you don't pay more than necessary for your energy is to continually shop around," Mr Morgan said.
"Checking prices, and switching suppliers accordingly, is basically the only way to keep your energy costs as low as they can be.
"The message is that while competition isn't working as it should be, not all energy suppliers are the same.
"The difference between good and bad deals can amount to hundreds of pounds a year. It is very much worth talking to an independent and reputable price comparison and switching service like the Energy Advice Line.
The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.
The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice service for business energy customers throughout the to of their energy contracts.