Butchers advised to shop around as energy prices rise

Increasing electricity prices are likely to have a big impact on independent butchers, who are already struggling at this time of the year, MeatInfo.co.uk has been told.

Increasing electricity prices are likely to have a big impact on independent butchers, who are already struggling at this time of the year, MeatInfo.co.uk has been told.

Following British Gas’ announcement that it was going to push electricity prices up by double digits, the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) technical manager Richard Stevenson said butchers should start shopping around for the best deals.  

“Changes in energy prices always have a big impact on butchers, especially with 24/7 refrigeration, that’s a big one. [Any increase] is bad news, because it is not an easy time for trade at this time of the year.

“It will bring increased pressure and they are obviously going to have to look to pass price increases on to customers to some extent. Butchers don’t like to pass on cost increases, they tend to hold back, but it is bound to put up the price pressures.”

Managing director of the Energy Advice Line (ADL) Julian Morgan, meanwhile, said energy consumers would feel cheated by the 10.2% hike in electricity prices and 9.2% rise in gas due to be made by British Gas.

“In May this year, British Gas owner Centrica promised to delay any price rises this winter after enjoying an 18% increase in gas consumption during last winter’s bitterly cold temperatures. It is very difficult to reconcile that promise with today’s announcement of inflation-busting price increases for both gas and electricity and consumers have every right to feel betrayed and let down,” he said.

The increase will take effect on 23 November. Of the increase in its energy prices, British Gas said the cost of buying energy on the global markets, delivering gas and electricity to its customers was to blame and further blamed the government’s green policies for the rises.

British Gas’ news followed that of SSE’s announcement earlier this month, saying they would raise their prices by 8.2% from 15 November, which would add more than £100 to the average annual bill for both gas and electricity.

SSE also blamed the rising cost of wholesale energy and government charges.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged an energy price freeze for 20 months, if Labour wins the next election. However, Prime Minister David Cameron called Miliband’s pledge a “con”.

Stevenson concluded: “We are often making representations to the government on all sorts of things and we do mention fuel prices from time to time, but the usual attitude is that it’s more focused on the energy businesses.” 

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