Consumers will be paying around 10% more for their energy bills by the end of the year, due to the harsh UK winter, cold spring and expected price rises by energy suppliers, market analysts predict.
According to Mark Todd, founder of energyhelpline.com, the big six energy suppliers are once again set to profit substantially from the colder weather, at the expense of their customers.
Mr Todd told the Daily Express the “cruel reality” is that customers continue to pay more and more for their gas and electricity as suppliers make more profits, and this will be exacerbated at the end of the year as the winter bites and prices are once again increased.
He estimated that the biggest players in the market – British Gas, EDF, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower and SSE – will raise prices by between 5% and 10% by the end of 2013, with no reduction in sight.
“Customers have already been hit by a double whammy of price rises last year followed by the long winter, which pushed up energy usage. The average annual bill is expected to hit £1,495 with this extra cost. If, as we suspect, they hike prices again in the autumn, this could add another £100,” Mr Todd said.
The big six have vowed to do what they can to avoid consumers suffering, however, with British Gas owner Centrica last week announcing that it will use profits accrued during the unseasonably cold British winter to help maintain prices for consumers in the coming months.
“This strong performance enables the business to continue to invest in customer service and price competitiveness,” the company said in a statement.
In spite of this, Mr Todd warned that the energy giants are set to write to customers who pay by direct debit to inform them that they may face significant increases in their monthly payments in the coming months to recoup the extra usage costs from the recent unseasonably cold months.
SSE has reiterated that it is “duty-bound” to review consumer accounts and offer to adjust regular payments, where necessary, while npower said its ultimate aim is to achieve a £0 balance at the end of the year, though the extent of any prices increases will not be known until the first consumers receive their updated payment schedules.