ahwiles OK ,As above, the price rises are split into
1/ Government policy, especially ECO is having a huge impact at the moment. The government have set some very strict deadlines around insulating homes in poor areas or that are hard to treat (eg need wall cladding) in the next two years. This is all free to the end consumer but the energy companies have to do all the marketing and supply all the goods free of charge, this is around £1BN of additional cost just over the next few years for Brtish Gas. There are good arguments for the government helping with awareness and collecting this money through general taxation
2/ Investment in the transmition and distribution network, basic stuff really
3/ Wholesale gas price, global market, Japan has closed nuclear and is driving up the cost of shipped LNG. Sensibly USA are keeping their shale to themsleves.
At the end of that there is still a modest margin to make so the investments can be made and the shareholders can recieve a dividend, most of these are pension funds etc.
ETA - Junkyard, the UK's biggest energy compamy is also the biggest single tax contributer in the UK, despite not being the biggest by market capitalisation by a long way
The question I would ask is why is the industry over taxed and then asked to collect psudeo taxes. What is happening to the contribution from vodafone, BP, Glaxo, Diageo etc??