Energy bills warning as consumers could face ‘unexpectedly’ high bills

Britons are likely to see their bills rise going into the colder months of the year – but they could go up more than expected.

Energy experts at BOXT have urged consumers to note that how the Ofgem price cap work as it does not cap their total bill.

Andy Kerr, founder of BOXT, said: “However, consumers should remember that the Ofgem price cap does not set the maximum a household will pay on their energy bills and need to remain vigilant about their usage to avoid receiving an unexpectedly costly bill.

“As we head into the colder winter months, there are still concerns that consumer energy bill prices will remain concerningly high this winter.”

The Ofgem price cap fell from the start of October, with average bills for a typical household falling from £2,074 a year to £1,923 a year for those who pay for dual fuel by direct debit.

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But these figures are simply the result of a calculation based on typical usage applied to the actual cap, which is on the unit price of energy.

The regulator has now also changed what it considers to be average use – under the new metric the average household will pay £1,834 a year.

Analysts are predicting the Ofgem price cap will go up again when it is next updated in January, with BOXT forecasting average billw will rise to £1,898 a year.

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Mr Kerr said: “Whilst there are steps consumers can take to monitor their consumption, the global cost of energy is beyond their control.

“Because of this, people in the UK need to start thinking about longer-term investments into improving the energy efficiency of their homes and being more self-sufficient to ensure they are not caught out by changes in unit rates.

“For this to happen the UK needs to invest effort in helping consumers make their homes more energy efficient by investing more in sustainable energy sources.”

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He also said the Government should take action to make greener energy sources more widely available to the public.

The energy expert said: “Beyond the price cap, the Government needs to work towards improving the availability and affordability of alternative energy sources such as solar panels, and alternate heating systems such as hybrid heat pumps, that are purpose-built to combine a heat pump with an oil or gas boiler, to reduce households’ energy bills in the long term.”

There were recently reports that Ofgem is looking at a one-off increase to bills, of around £17 a year, to help suppliers struggling to cope with debts. This would not be brought in until next April.

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