Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas

SSE is the latest Big Six firm to hike gas and electricity prices

The question is, who should be paying for the costs of efficient energy systems?

Energy bills for SSE customers will increase by £76 per year from July onwards – that's about £1.50 a week if you use gas and electricity.

What it means: SSE are the last of the 'Big Six' energy firms to hike up their prices.

Generally speaking, price hikes aren't so bad if inflation and wages are going up in equal measure – in other words, if the value of money is going down, and people are earning more.

Unfortunately, that's not the case here: prices are rising faster than the money coming into our bank accounts, and it doesn't feel like there's much we can do about it.

Companies say the cost of complying with government regulations on making energy supply more environmentally friendly and efficient should be funded by taxes, instead of them having to pass the cost to the customer in their energy bills.

That way, they say, instead of everyone paying the same amount towards the extra cost through an increased energy bill, the burden could be divided fairly by proportionally taxing people on different incomes different amounts.

Of course, others would say the companies should pay it out of their profits. It's a question of whether you believe companies should finance their own environmental burdens, whether governments should take responsibility for making our economies more environmentally friendly, or whether customers need to pay the price.

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