The secretary of state for energy and climate change has dismissed claims his department has been "impotent" in tackling high energy costs and ensuring customers are able to get cheap gas bills.
Ed Davey told the BBC recent increases in the cost of domestic energy are down to rising wholesale prices on international markets, but noted the government is taking steps to protect consumers from these hikes.
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed average domestic electricity bills increased by £36 in 2011 compared with the previous year, while gas costs rose by £61.
"When oil prices go up internationally, when gas prices go up, we are hit by that," Mr Davey said, but added "we can do things and we will do things" to minimise this.
He highlighted schemes such as the Warm Front initiative to help vulnerable customers and campaigns to encourage users to insulate their homes and switch energy supplier to find the cheapest possible tariffs.
The minister added the UK also needs to increase the amount of energy it generates, including more renewable power, in order to reduce its reliance on volatile international markets.
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