14million facing £ 500 winter fuel bill shock
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