Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) said that forward annual wholesale prices for electricity and gas rose by 50% and 60%, respectively, in the period between February 2008 and July 2008, and by 190% for electricity and 230% for gas between February 2007 and July 2008.

The increases will not apply to customers on SSE’s social tariff, energyplus care, until the end of the forthcoming winter period at the earliest. This tariff already provides qualifying customers with a discount of 20% compared with SSE’s standard tariffs. SSE said that it is committed to increasing the number of customers benefiting from energyplus care to 100,000 by the end of March 2009.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, energy supply director of SSE, said: The world is experiencing an energy shock of a kind not seen since the early 1970s, but which is likely to have more profound and lasting consequences. Global demand for all types of energy has risen steeply and supplies of finite resources like oil and gas are under intense pressure. That is one of the reasons why we need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, and, over the next five years, SSE is investing GBP3 billion in renewable energy to help achieve this.