After the scorching hot weather of last week, you’d think central heating wouldn’t really be a huge concern right now. But with the cost-of-living crisis at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the fear that it’s going to be a long, hard winter isn’t going away anytime soon.
In fact, things could be even worse than we thought. Energy bills in the UK have been predicted to hit £500 in January alone – with wholesale gas prices being pushed up after Vladimir Putin halved Russia’s supply of gas to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
UK households are already shelling out an average of £1,971 per year for energy after the cap was raised in April. The cap on energy charges is predicted to rise to £3,420 in October and potentially rise again in January to £3,850 a year. That’s a lot more than the original forecast of £2,800 forecast that energy regulator Ofgem made in May.
Gemma Berwick, of utilities consultancy BFY Group, told The Financial Times that while many households can spread their higher winter bills throughout the year, prepayment households are looking at charges of ‘at least £434 in December and more than £500 in January’.
It’s a truly eye-watering jump. Data published by British Gas estimates that the current average cost for electricity and gas is between £113.69 and £227.97 per month, depending on household size.
‘It’s down to the government to do something as these figures are shocking, we’re going to see vast swathes of households fall into energy poverty,’ Berwick said.
A government spokesperson told Metro: ‘Unlike Europe, Britain isn’t dependent on Russian gas. The UK’s secure and diverse energy supplies will ensure households, businesses and industry can be confident they can get the electricity and gas they need.
‘However, we are vulnerable to volatile gas markets. While no national government can control the gas price, we have introduced an extraordinary £37 billion package to help households, including £1,200 each for eight million of the most vulnerable households.’
The news is a major worry for households who are already struggling with the increased cost of living. But action demanding a cut to energy bills is already under way: the Don’t Pay UK campaign is planning to get at least a million people to pledge not to pay if the government goes ahead with its proposed hike in energy bills on October 1.
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