UK energy prices have risen at double the pace of the European Union average, recent statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have revealed.
According to the OECD
, the price of energy in the UK has risen by 29.7 per cent in the 12 months up to September 2008, compared to 15 per cent in the EU overall.
And the real effects of this are beginning to be felt in the UK as, according to uSwitch.com, the average household gas and electricity
bill is up by £381 from the £912 it was at the beginning of 2008 to the £1,293 it is today.
However, director of policy at uSwitch.com, Ann Robinson, said: "The full effects of this year's price rises have yet to be realised – it's during the winter months when energy consumption increases that consumers will really start to feel the pinch."
So far this year fuel poverty has already hit millions of households, and, as Ed Mayo, chief executive officer of Consumer Focus adds, it is these consumers who will be hit the hardest.
"Of course, those least able to afford it suffer most. The suppliers must offer their most vulnerable customers social tariffs and reduce prices generally at the earliest opportunity."
In defence of the UK's over-inflated energy prices, chief executive of the Energy Retail Association, Garry Felgate said: "What the OECD's figures fail to demonstrate is that British customers have enjoyed historically low prices compared to Europe and indeed the rest of the world.
"We are no longer an energy island. With increased demand from growing economies such as India and China, the prices we pay for our energy are more vulnerable to fluctuations across the world."
And, as a result, uSwitch.com's Ann Robinson comments: "British consumers have to take matters into their own hands and start managing their energy for themselves."
Simple energy saving measures such as using energy efficient light bulbs can make a difference, says Ms Robinson, and it is also important to compare energy prices.
"Paying by direct debit and moving to an online plan will help us to pay on average £179 less for the energy we use. The important thing is for consumers to understand how they can cut their bills and then actually go ahead and do it," Ms Robinson concluded.
© Fair Investment Company Ltd