Firms damaged by energy costs

HIGH energy prices and fears about the security of supply are damaging Suffolk firms, a business leader warned today.John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, spoke after British Gas, npower and EDF Energy announced inflation-busting price increases.

HIGH energy prices and fears about the security of supply are damaging Suffolk firms, a business leader warned today.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, spoke after British Gas, npower and EDF Energy announced inflation-busting price increases.

Mr Dugmore said price rises were putting up costs for local firms and reducing the amount of money consumers were able to spend.

“Price instability and fears about the security of supply are increasingly affecting our members and their ability to do business.

“High energy prices are pushing up business costs, dampening consumer spending, and adding to the inflationary pressures already affecting the economy.”

Mr Dugmore said the Chamber had tried to help businesses in Suffolk cope with energy price rises.

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“The Chamber is working hard with its members to assist in tackling these spiralling energy costs via our free energy assessments, through which the Chamber Utilities scheme can test the market to see if the organisation is getting the most competitive deal.

“To date the members we've been able to assist have saved more than £84,000 - on average a saving of 25 per cent on previous bills.”

The news comes at a time when the cost of petrol in the UK is at a historic high and banks are becoming less keen to lend money due to concerns about the financial markets.

Should energy prices be cut to help Suffolk firms? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

ENERGY supplier npower announced above-average price rises for Ipswich customers last week, even though most of Britain's gas comes into the country in nearby Norfolk.

Bill-payers here, part of the Eastern region along London and the East Midlands, face increases of 23pc for gas and 17pc for electricity, although npower is raising gas prices for 4.1million customers by an average of 17 per cent and electricity costs by 12.7pc..

Price rises by EDF Energy came into force on Friday, with gas going up by 12.9 per cent and electricity by 7.9 per cent.

And British Gas raised the price of its electricity and gas by 15 per cent on Friday, blaming an increase in wholesale prices.

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