Referring to the Scottish company’s recent declaration of massive annual profits for the past year (a 47% rise), the watchdog has rejected ScottishPower’s claim that it needs to increase retail tariffs further.

The Glasgow-headquartered power provider last announced price rises for its retail customers just two months ago. Energywatch has now called for government intervention to protect the financially vulnerable from the price hikes.

Adam Scorer of Energywatch comments: Consumers have heard this all before. High profits and, in the same breath, dire warnings of higher prices. Energywatch is concerned that further price rises will see the poor paying even more for essential electricity and gas supplies and that this assault on the budgets of Britain’s poorest households is continuing unchecked. It is time for some joined up action from government and the energy companies to soften the impact of soaring energy prices on Britain’s hardest pressed energy users.

The [UK government’s] energy review presents an unmissable opportunity for government and industry to decide how to meet the problems of affordability and develop solutions that will stop the least well-off consumers from having to make the tough choice between heating and eating, Mr Scorer added.