Energy Price Rise Warnings.

Consumers have been warned that a big rise in gas and electricity charges in the next few weeks could add £100 to a typical annual bill — with more misery to follow this winter.



As the growing cost of energy bites deeper into squeezed household budgets, experts are urging householders to take action now and look for a fixed rate or online deal to soften the worst effects of future price rises.
Joe Malinowski, of TheEnergyShop.com  a price comparison website, says: “A rapid rise in wholesale gas prices driven by events in the Middle East and Japan means that it is now very likely that further increases will take energy bills to record levels.”

Wholesale gas prices have risen 15 per cent already this year and 84 per cent since their low in early 2010. Wholesale electricity prices are up 7 per cent this year.

He says: “In the next two months we expect a further price increase in the 5 to 10 per cent range. This would add between £50 and £100 to the typical annual household energy bill of £1,040 for a direct-debit customer.”
This view is reinforced by Centrica, owner of British Gas, which points out that wholesale gas prices quoted for this winter are 25 per cent higher than last year. SSE, which this week announced record profits, has made similar hints and this has raised fears that energy suppliers are preparing the ground for a double round of price increases.

Mark Todd, director of Energyhelpline.com, another price comparison website, says: “British Gas is the biggest player in the UK market. If it is feeling the pressure to increase prices, then you can be certain that the other members of the Big Six energy suppliers are in the same boat.”

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, also recently joined the ranks of the energy Cassandras when he forecast that electricity prices could rise 10 per cent and gas prices 15 per cent this winter


Even without more rises, many households are facing a jump in their bills as seven fixed-price deals come to an end this month and next. If customers coming off these deals, costing an average of £918 a year, do nothing, they will be moved on to a standard annual tariff averaging £1,040 — a jump of £120 in their yearly bill.

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