14mil­lion fac­ing £ 500 win­ter fuel bill shock

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Tammy Hughes

MORE than 14 mil­lion house­holds could be fac­ing av­er­age quar­terly en­ergy bills of £ 530 af­ter a spate of price rises.

Worst hit will be the es­ti­mated 60 per cent of con­sumers on stan­dard tar­iffs who have never changed their sup­plier.

Fam­i­lies typ­i­cally use about 40 per cent of their an­nual en­ergy con­sump­tion dur­ing the win­ter months.

That means the next av­er­age quar­terly stan­dard bill will hit well over £ 500 for many of us, re­veals a study by Money­Su­per­mar­ket.com.

Power giants an­nounced price rises av­er­ag­ing 7.6 per cent be­tween Au­gust and De­cem­ber, with th­ese coming into ef­fect be­tween Oc­to­ber 15 and Jan­uary 18.

Clare Fran­cis, con­sumer fi­nance spokes­woman at Money Su­per­mar­ket, said: “Many house­holds will be deal­ing with a fes­tive fi­nan­cial hang­over this Jan­uary, so a huge en­ergy bill will come as an un­wel­come shock. The spate of price rises will leave many peo­ple wor­ry­ing about the crip­pling cost they could face in the coming months.”

She urged con­sumers to switch to a cheaper tar­iff, and those on fixed deals to be aware of when th­ese end.

She said: “Many peo­ple have done the right thing and moved on to fixed en­ergy tar­iffs to pro­tect them­selves from fu­ture price hikes. How­ever, it’s really im­por- tant to re­mem­ber to switch again when their cur­rent fixed deal ends.

“Oth­er­wise they’ll prob­a­bly be trans­ferred on to the provider’s stan­dard price plan which could re­sult in their an­nual en­ergy costs leap­ing by more than £ 300.”

En­ergy watch­dog Ofgem said: “We rec­om­mend peo­ple shop around for the best en­ergy deal for them.”

Mean­while, Ms Fran­cis said: “There are sim­ple things you can do to re­duce the en­ergy you use at home.

“Turn­ing your heat­ing down by one de­gree, do­ing your wash­ing at 30 de­grees rather than 40 or 60, tak­ing a shower rather than a bath will all re­duce your en­ergy con­sump­tion and over the year could save you a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money.”

Heat­ing bills are surg­ing

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