Millions to see energy bills increase by at least £139 from next month 2 months ago

Millions to see energy bills increase by at least £139 from next month

The price hike is set to coincide with the start of colder weather and a cut to Universal Credit

Energy prices are going to rise for millions of people across the UK next month, increasing by at least £139 a year, in a move that charities have called "devastating" for struggling families.

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The typical gas and electricity customer is set to see their bill increase £139 to £1,277 a year, while prepayment customers will see a £153 jump, from £1,156 to £1309.

Regulator Ofgem has said the prices are being raised to cover suppliers' extra costs, while charities have warned the hike will hit struggling families hard, especially those already set to lose an extra £20 a week from Universal Credit in October.

Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action described the increase as "devastating."

The charity's director of policy and advocacy, Peter Smith, said: "Millions of household budgets are already stretched to the limit and this massive increase could not be coming at a worse time."

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley told the BBC: "The reason the price cap is going up is there has been a record increase in energy prices across the board, not just in gas and electricity but in petrol and diesel."

He urged customers to shop around for the best deals, with savings of up to £200 available.

"You don't have to live with this tariff. The price cap is a backstop. We'd encourage any customer, particularly those struggling to pay their bills, to contact their supplier, and get access to a wide-range of help and support," he said.

Ofgem said the increase is down to rising wholesale costs, adding that the price cap in place would mean that households would save between £75-£100 a year.

The price cap, set twice a year by the regulator, affects 11 million households in England, Wales and Scotland who have never switched suppliers or whose discounted deals have expired.

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