Hard-up families hit worst by energy bill hikes as prices rise by up to £147 a year

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Hard-up families hit worst by energy bill hikes as prices rise by up to £147 a year



MILLIONS of hard-up families are facing the biggest hit on their finances due to soaring energy prices next month, according to new research.
Households in northern Scotland, Merseyside and south Wales will be the worst affected, with some facing increases of up to £147, uSwitch.com has found.
How much more hard-up households will pay for energy
It means that those living in the Scottish Hydro area face paying £1,711 on average per year for gas and electricity – 7.3 per cent of their total income.
Those living in South Wales and Merseyside will have spent 6.8 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively to heat and light their homes.
In comparison, increases for those living in more affulent areas such as London account see energy bills account for just 2.2 per cent of their annual income.
Last month, Ofgem announced it was increasing the price cap on expensive standard variable tariffs (SVTs) to an average of £1,254 a year.

This triggered a wave of price increase from 36 suppliers, who have all hiked prices by over 10 per cent on average.
In fact, the Big Six firms were accused of running a cartel after they all hiked prices to the same amount.
This means 15million customers will see energy bills go up over £100 a year on April 1.
Households could save hundreds of pounds by switching to a cheaper deal.
The difference between the best deal on the market today and the new price cap is £362.
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Rik Smith, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: “These price rises will add more pressure to household budgets across the country, but unfortunately the people that will feel it most are the families who are already struggling to make ends meet.
“This may seem like a cruel April fools joke, but it’s no laughing matter. The stark reality is that the very cap that was supposed to protect customers on poor value standard tariffs is now responsible for some of the harshest price increases in recent memory.
“Consumers have just days left before their energy bills will skyrocket.”
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A spokesperson from Ofgem said: “The price cap ensures that consumers remain protected from being overcharged for their energy and that any increases in the level are only due to actual rises in energy costs, rather than excess charges from supplier profiteering.
“The cap has significantly reduced consumers’ bills. Our analysis suggests that on average consumers are paying around £75-100 per year less than they would be if the cap was not in place.”
Earlier this week we revealed how Brits could claim back hundreds of pounds from energy suppliers. 
We also revealed how fossil fuel gas hobs and boilers will be banned in all new-build homes from 2025.

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