The Bank of England has warned that energy bills could go up again this winter despite wholesale gas prices falling by 9% since May.
It estimated that a energy prices could rise by 2.5 per cent ‘around the turn of the year’ because suppliers will face increased costs, particularly those associated with distribution.
The news also follows a series of price rises last year from the ‘Big 6’ energy suppliers – EDF Energy, British Gas, Scottish Power, SSE, npower and E.ON – which saw energy costs rise by £224 or 21% in less than 18 months.
More price rises?
Further rises are likely to be badly received as the population struggle to pay their energy bills and fuel poverty – when 10% or more of a household’s income is spent on energy bills – affects a growing number of households.
Energy suppliers have been widely criticised for not passing on falls in wholesale gas prices to their customers and being too quick to put prices up.
Recent research by uSwitch revealed that energy costs were rising at five times the rate of household incomes:
Lucy Darch, energy expert at uSwitch, called the news ‘worrying for consumers’:
“In the last six years, household energy bills have rocketed by 91% – from £660 a year in 2006 to £1,259. With winter approaching, any further price hikes would put more pressure on many households, especially the third already finding their current energy bill unaffordable,” she said.
“While there is no clear indication that prices will go up, worried consumers can act now. Consumers should ensure they are paying as little as possible for your energy and also look at using less by being more energy efficient.”
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