Households set for record winter fuel bill
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Wednesday 02 January 2013
Six million households face a shock next month when an average fuel bill of £530 pops through the letterbox, analysts warned today.
The bill – the biggest ever single payment demanded by the energy giants – will hit those customers who pay for their gas and electricity quarterly.
An estimated 6.5 million households have already been left in fuel poverty this winter because of near-8 per cent hikes increasing the average annual bill to £1,343.
An analysis by Moneysupermarket.com showed that 39.4 per cent of a household’s annual consumption of gas and electricity falls within just three months, between 13 November and 15 February.
As a result, the website calculated that the bill for those months would hit £530 - £50 more than last year.
“Many households will be dealing with a festive financial hangover this January so a huge energy bill will come as an unwelcome shock,” said its consumer finance expert Clare Francis.
Energy UK, which represents suppliers, acknowledged that the next quarterly bill would concern some customers.
Chief executive Angela Knight said: “With the current state of the economy, we know that people will be worried about their household bills after Christmas. Anyone who’s concerned about paying their energy bills this winter should contact their supplier and see what options are open to them.”
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