Tony Cocker, chief executive, E.On (top left); William Morris, managing director, SSE (top right); Stephen Fitzpatrick, managing director, Ovo Energy (bottom left); Guy Johnson, external affairs director, RWEnpower (bottom right)
An energy industry executive has slammed competitors for "charging the maximum price they feel they can get away with" in evidence to a select committee of MPs.
The claim was made at a hearing of the Energy and Climate Change Committee which was looking into price rises.
The hearing followed energy and climate secretary Ed Davey's criticism of energy companies that had boosted their tariffs way beyond the inflation rate. The providers blamed external factors, such as wholesale prices, for the rises.
Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck, asked Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of Ovo Energy, to qualify what he recently said to a BBC journalist regarding the price hikes.
"It looks to me like a lot of energy companies - a significant number of the big six - are charging the maximum price they feel they can get away with to customers they feel will not switch under any circumstances," Fitzpatrick told the MPs.
Fitzpatrick claimed the big companies were charging 10% more than they should be.
"We're all trying to track down where this money is going, but you will never find it," he said. "These guys are the best filibusters in the business."
Fitzpatrick's comments were made after his own firm increased its rates.
Ovo Energy said on its website that its customers would see an increase of £68 on their fixed rate energy tariff per year - representing a 5.8% increase. That means that the organisation's Fixed New Energy plan now costs on average £1,240 per year.
The company said it was also increasing the cost of its variable rate which has remained unchanged for over a year. The new variable tariff will now be £1,266.
Ovo Energy claimed wholesale costs had gone up by 7.2% for gas and 6.2% for electricity since its last review in November, with transportation costs also increasing.
The hearing follows a number of price increase announcements from energy companies.
Centrica said it would raise its household charges for electricity and gas by an average of 9.2% from November.
Its subsidiary British Gas said its electricity and gas prices would rise by 10.4% and 8.4% respectively from 23 November.
SSE announced it would raise its charges for electricity and gas by an average of 8.2%.
RWE Npower will raise household charges for electricity and gas by 9.3% and 11.1% respectively.
The MPs also heard from Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On; William Morris, managing director of SSE; and Guy Johnson, external affairs director of RWEnpower.
Morris and Johnson defended their companies' decision to increase prices. E.On has not raised its rates.