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CITY'S WAR ON ENERGY GIANTS; Liverpool pays highest rates for heating.

Byline: MARC WADDINGTON

LIVERPOOL council is to lobby government for a full public inquiry into "scandalous" energy prices which see city residents pay more than any other area of the country.

At last night's full council meeting council leader Cllr Joe Anderson said the main energy companies were exploiting their virtual monopolies in parts of the country with Liverpool residents suffering particularly because of high levels of deprivation.

The opposition Liberal Democrats said they too supported a full, independent inquiry and highlighted that the cost of energy per unit is up to 20p more expensive in Merseyside than in Manchester.

The last available figures show that of the 13 'energy distribution areas', Liverpool - lumped in with North Wales - must endure the highest costs, at what stood at just under 20p per unit.

But the north west distribution area pays up to 3p per unit less.

Cllr Anderson's motion said: "The council is especially concerned about their impact in the light of rising unemployment as a result of public sector job losses in the city. Those who are poorest and most vulnerable will be affected most by rising energy costs."

Cllr Anderson told the council: "It concerns you when you look at the profits these companies are making and how energy bills have gone up by up to 174% in some cases.

"It's obscene that in such tough times the government is giving them the licence to take money off people.

"We need an inquiry that is totally independent and it needs to look at how they're exploiting the situation.

"It's nothing short of scandalous and every MP of whatever political persuasion should be standing up and shouting loudly in support of a public inquiry."

The Lib Dems' amendment to Cllr Anderson's motion, agreed unanimously, added: "The pricing area in which Liverpool is located is higher than many others including Lancaster, Wigan and Warrington.

"This means that Liverpool citizens are effectively spending more to keep warm than those in other north west towns and cities.

"This is unfair and a fairer system of geographical pricing needs to be developed by the industry."
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2012
Words:351
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