SSE has revealed that customers can expect electricity prices to rise between 8.9% and 12% and gas prices by 13.6% early in the new year. The utility has followed in the footsteps of its rivals by citing wholesale price rises as the reason.

The pressure of high wholesale prices cannot…be withstood indefinitely and we have come to the point where these price rises are unavoidable, said Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE’s energy supply director.

The Scottish-based power company has been criticized for the timing of its move, as the increases will come straight after the costly holiday season. Meanwhile, the price hikes come during a backdrop of rumors over SSE sizing up a multi-billion pound takeover bid for rival ScottishPower, which itself has just revealed a huge increase in profits on the back of increasing its own prices.