Britain asks big energy firms to freeze gas and power prices: BBC

A demonstrator wears a message during a march to the headquarters of energy company npower during a protest against energy prices, London, on Nov 26, 2013. The government has asked Britain's six biggest energy suppliers to freeze prices for gas and e
A demonstrator wears a message during a march to the headquarters of energy company npower during a protest against energy prices, London, on Nov 26, 2013. The government has asked Britain's six biggest energy suppliers to freeze prices for gas and electricity until the 2015 election, the BBC reported on Friday citing unidentified industry sources. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - The government has asked Britain's six biggest energy suppliers to freeze prices for gas and electricity until the 2015 election, the BBC reported on Friday citing unidentified industry sources.

A spokeswoman for the Energy Ministry declined to comment on the report. Further details may be announced when finance minister George Osborne gives his Dec 5 Autumn Statement budget update, the spokeswoman said.

The BBC reported that the government ministers had asked the so-called big six energy suppliers to hold prices until mid-2015 as long as wholesale prices remain stable. The request is part of a wider deal being discussed on pricing, the BBC said.

The soaring cost of everything from gas to train tickets has shot up the political agenda since the return of economic growth forced the opposition Labour party to shift its line of attack to the decline in real incomes that has squeezed voters.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has promised to freeze bills for 20 months if he wins power, a pledge Prime Minister David Cameron has called both a gimmick and a con. Cameron has said he wants to roll back some green levies to reduce consumer bills.

Britain's "big six" energy companies, British Gas owner Centrica, SSE, RWE's npower, Iberdrola's Scottish Power, EDF Energy and Eon , supply 98 per cent of the country's homes.