Today’s news that energy price hikes have helped to fuel an increase in the inflation rate (CPI) is further evidence of the impact the high cost of energy is having, says Uswitch.com. A wave of winter price hikes by Britain’s big six suppliers, averaging £94 or 7.4%, has taken the average household energy bill to an eye-watering £1,353 a year amidst concerns about the growing ranks of consumers rationing their energy use in an attempt to stave off costs.
At the same time Ofgem, the regulator, has estimated that energy companies’ margins will be increasing to £110 per customer prompting calls for companies to drop their prices again.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at Uswitch.com, says: “This is a double whammy for consumers who are feeling the impact of higher energy prices through both their bills and the effect of inflation. These figures will serve to cast the spotlight on Britain’s big six energy suppliers again because, as we can now see, the impact of higher energy costs doesn’t just end on bills.
“Consumers are calling to the Chancellor for help, looking to tomorrow’s Budget to tackle the issues that matter to them – specifically the cost of utility bills and petrol prices. Essential household bills have increased by 25% in the last five years, while wages have climbed by just 6% in the same timeframe. Relentless bill hikes are placing unprecedented pressure on consumers who are now more worried about rising living costs than their health.
“85% believe that the Chancellor does not understand the financial fears of ordinary people and 71% say that their financial situation has worsened since the Coalition came to power in 2010. While all eyes will be on the Chancellor as he delivers the Budget, the energy industry has its role to play too. I would urge suppliers to take note of the pressure that consumers are coming under and to cut their prices at the earliest opportunity.
“However, consumers should help themselves too. There are two steps that everyone should now take to protect themselves from the high cost of energy – use less energy by making homes more energy efficient and pay less for what you do use by moving to a more competitive plan.”
Based on a medium user customer using 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas, on a standard dual fuel plan, paying quarterly by cash or cheque with bill sizes averaged across the big six suppliers and all regions.
Ofgem: Electricity and Gas supply market indicators dated 13th March, 2013.
Uswitch.com press release: Household bills rise 25% since 2008 dated 13th March, 2013.
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