EDF Energy, the UK retail supply arm of France's Electricite de France, has become the latest UK residential suppler to announce a price increase as it looks to pass on the impact of surging wholesale prices to end-users.

The price rises will come into effect from March 13, 2006. For domestic customers the increases will be 4.7% for electricity and 14.7% for gas. For a typical household, that’s an average increase of nearly 30p a week for electricity and just over GBP1.32 a week for gas.

Wholesale gas and electricity costs have risen by 100% and 90% respectively since January 2005. Additionally, carbon prices have risen by 380% over the same period, EDF Energy says by way of explanation for the move.

Two other suppliers – npower and Scottish & Southern Energy – have already raised their prices this year. Further, ScottishPower has also recently announced that from March 1, 2006, its prices will increase by 8% for electricity and 15% for gas.

Over 300,000 EDF Energy customers on capped or fixed rates will not be affected by the latest announcement, the firm said. They are protected from further rises until 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Derek Lickorish, chief operating officer of EDF Energy customer branch, said: With soaring wholesale energy costs, we have been forced to raise our prices. However, through ownership of our own generating capacity, we have been able to limit the overall rise for all our customers.

Further, we are launching a new fixed rate product for those who want reassurance for their household budget. In addition, we’ve also made special arrangements to continue to protect those customers who are most in need.

Consumer groups reacted angrily to the news. Average price rises are being continually pushed up and it won’t be long before we see GBP1,000 energy bills as the norm, Adam Scorer, director of campaigns at Energywatch, told the BBC.

Energywatch urged all customers to shop around for the best deal, but praised EDF Energy for taking a lead in offering socially responsible tariffs aimed at aiding the poorest consumers to pay their bills.