Plaid Cymru's Cllr Penri James this week joined calls for the energy regulator, Ofgem, to launch an investigation into why Ceredigion households, like their Welsh counterparts, are paying substantially higher electricity chargers than other areas of the UK.

Electricity customers in North Ceredigion currently pay up to 20 per cent more than other UK areas for energy from the same supplier while in South Ceredigion, there is up to an 18 per cent difference in price.

These inconsistencies in pricing - which are blamed by electricity companies on the varying costs of transporting energy to different parts of the UK - were highlighted again this week as Scottish Power became the latest company to announce immediate price rises.

Commenting on the differing prices for electricity from the same supplier throughout the UK, Plaid Cymru's Penri James said: "Average electricity bills in Wales have already risen from £246 in 2003 to £424 in 2007 - this is a very steep increase and I think that local householders will be even more concerned to learn that they are charged more for electricity than residents of other areas in the UK. Scottish Power, for example, charges householders in North Ceredigion 20 per cent more for their electricity than they charge householders in South East England. Similarly, SWALEC customers in South Ceredigion pay 18 per cent more for their electricity than customers in the Midlands.

"Electricity companies often blame these differences on the higher cost involved in transporting energy to rural Wales. However, I don't accept this argument because we have many locations in Wales which produce electricity. In Ceredigion itself, we have numerous wind turbines which supply the National Grid - I don't see why we should have to pay over the odds to have the resulting energy transported to our houses".