UK utility ScottishPower has revealed that it is to increase prices. The move comes as the UK heads towards its winter but the power provider said higher wholesale costs have forces its hand.

From October 17 electricity prices will rise by between 5% and 8%, depending on payment method and region, with gas going up by 12%. In justifying the timing of its decision ScottishPower said that it had absorbed soaring wholesale costs longer than most of its main rivals but was now forced to pass on part of the increases in wholesale prices to customers.

According to Energywatch, ScottishPower has put up gas prices 31.5% and electricity prices 28.2% since 2003. However, the company said wholesale energy costs were up nearly 70% since April 2004 alone.

Willie MacDiarmid, ScottishPower’s director of Energy Retail, said: Like all energy suppliers, ScottishPower has been hit by the unprecedented rise in wholesale prices. We have frozen prices for as long as possible, but unfortunately are now forced to pass on part of this increase to customers.

However, following Centrica’s recent price freeze offer, the Glasgow based power supplier said that it will also offer a price cap until October 2007. Furthermore the company pointed out that customers paying by check could offset the increases by switching to direct debit payments.