Surging cost of energy fuels leap in families’ bills
HOUSEHOLD bills rose by an average of £147 in the last year, largely due to soaring energy prices, research revealed yesterday.
The average Briton is now £12 per month worse off than this time last year and faces an annual total of £1,996 for four key bills, according to a study by comparison website MoneySuperMarket.
Energy bills saw the largest rise, with the average annual cost of the top 30 cheapest dual-fuel tariffs increasing by £151 during 2018.
Home insurance has also seen a steady upturn with an average increase of £22, from £118 in January 2018 to £140 now.
Meanwhile, the cost of car insurance dropped slightly by £9 and the average life insurance bill fell by six per cent (£17).
Tom Flack, editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, said: “2018 was another actionpacked year… but at the end of it, Brits are worse off financially, with household bills increasing by £147.”
The average energy bill now stands at £1,033 per year, 17 per cent more than this time last year (£882).
A price cap of £1,137 a year for a dual-fuel tariff was introduced on January 1 to stop customers being overcharged.
Industry regulator Ofgem has estimated that the cap will save 11 million households around £76 a year.
Campaign group Fuel Poverty Action said rising energy prices were “devastating” for thousands of Britons struggling to heat their homes.
A spokesman said: “The recent price cap only scratches the surface. Theresa May promised this
cap back in May 2017, and it was to be worth £100. Now it is forecast to save the average home £76 – and prices have risen by double that in the last year alone.
“The huge increase in energy prices is devastating for many households’ health and even survival. Last winter well over 15,000 people died due to cold homes – 40
per cent more than in the previous five years.”
Campaigners have also warned that rising wholesale energy costs may force Ofgem to raise the cap.
The regulator is due to publish an update next month confirming the level of the cap from April.
ONE of the most pernicious increases in living costs for people is heating bills. These hurt the elderly and the least well-off most of all, and even causes winter deaths as some try to save money.
So it is a matter of grave concern that the 30 cheapest dual-fuel tariffs are increasing by £151 during 2019. This comes on top of a general increase in bills, which averages out at just over £12 a month per household.
The fuel price cap introduced in January was a good move, and not before time, as households were being ripped off by energy firms. But it now seems that they are trying to make up for their lost profits by raising the minimum prices, which is unacceptable.
Ministers need to look at this issue carefully and ensure that we all, especially the most vulnerable in our society, are not having our pockets picked by energy firms.