Families already struggling to make ends meet were yesterday warned they face another huge rise in power bills next year.
Many pensioners and less well-off households are having to choose between heating and eating this winter after electricity and gas charges reached an all-time high.
But, as the cold weather bites and power firms report record profits, customers were told there is likely to be more pain to come – with a further 5 per cent rise in tariffs.
Warning: Consumer groups say energy prices could rise by as much as 15 per cent over the next 18 months.
Heating up: The average household energy bill has risen £94 or 7 per cent this year
That would add nearly £70 to the typical bill, taking the total for millions of families to around £1,420 a year.
Consumer groups said prices could rise by even more – possibly by as much as 15 per cent or around £200 over the next 18 months.
Ann Robinson, of uSwitch.com, said: ‘Affordability is becoming a huge and growing concern. The days of cheap energy are over.’
The average household energy bill has risen £94 or 7 per cent this year and £251 or 23 per cent since January 2011. In 2004, the typical bill was £522 a year, which means customers have seen a rise of £830 or 159 per cent in less than a decade.
The Office for Budget Responsibility, which publishes official forecasts for the Treasury, is predicting another 5 per cent rise in energy bills next year.
It said it expected suppliers to respond to higher oil and wholesale gas prices as well as increased costs associated with the Government’s green agenda.
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