Gas bills could soon hit £800 a year

23 July 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Following closely in the footsteps of increased electricity costs, gas bills look set to hit more than £800 a year in the coming months, pushing energy bills to an average total of more than £1,300 per household.

The latest energy shock comes following reports by the Mail on Sunday that Centrica, British Gas's parent company, is intending to impose record energy price increases by the end of August.

According to reports, increases are expected to follow the announcement of Centrica's first-half results on July 31. It has already warned of pending increases in its May Interim Management Statement.

The Mail on Sunday reported that sources at Centrica have commented on the inevitable rise, blaming it on the fact that the wholesale price of gas has doubled so far this year.

And, if British Gas puts its prices up, experts believed that other energy companies will soon follow suit, pushing more Brits into fuel poverty. Defined as having to spend more than 10 per cent of household income on energy, fuel poverty is already affecting 4.5 million households in the UK.

In response to the reported energy price boom, David Kuo, head of personal finance at urged consumers to get gas and electricity quotes before fixing energy rates: "Capped-rate deals may not be the cheapest tariffs on the market, but they will look a bargain in a few months time." he said.

When comparing capped deals, Mr Kuo recommends choosing one which lasts the longest – this may not be the lowest in price, but could work out cheaper over the longterm.

He concluded: "Energy prices are rising and are likely to remain high for some time. However, opting for capped tariffs is more than taking a bet on the direction of energy prices. It is knowing for certain how much your outgoings will be for the term of the deal."

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