Surg­ing cost of en­ergy fu­els leap in fam­i­lies’ bills

Daily Express - - News - By Hanna Geissler

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).

Dev­as­tat­ing

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.

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