Rising energy prices add extra strain on struggling households

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As four of the main six energy suppliers in the UK announce rising energy prices, financial solutions experts, Baines & Ernst, advise those in debt to seek better deals to avoid unaffordable price hikes this winter.

Baines & Ernst

4.8 million households are in fuel poverty – which makes these energy price hikes all the more alarming.

While UK households were wishing for greater financial stability that would last long into the New Year, the energy market had other ideas and were planning their next energy price hike.

In October 2013, the news was announced that energy bills were due to increase again – leaving consumers sorely disappointed with providers, especially as it had been reported that wholesale prices had dropped.

On October 17th, British Gas were the first of the so-called ‘big-six’ to make an announce on their website called 'British Gas Household Tariff Changes' regarding price hikes of 9.2%.

The BBC's Newspaper Review on October 18th reported on news headlines that reflected the negative feelings towards the price increases as announced by British Gas.

In a bid to ease tensions, British Gas announced that they were to welcome a Q&A session via Twitter to answer customer concerns.

According to London Loves Business, on October 17th the social media campaign – #AskBG – caused a huge Twitter storm as angry consumers went online to vent their disappointment at price hikes during a time when households are already struggling to cope.

Sadly, the story didn’t end there, as a further two of the big six announced that they were also increasing energy prices.

For duel fuel customers, Scottish Power announced on their website that as of December 6th 2013, customers could expect an increase of 8.6%, while gas only customers would see an increase of 8.5% and electricity only customers, 9%.

There was bad news for NPower customers too, as a news article published on October 21st by the BBC stated that NPower duel fuel customers would see a rise of 10.4%. There would also be an increase of 11.1% for gas customers and 9.3% for electricity only customers.

A spokes person for Baines & Ernst, a leading financial solutions company said, “Those already struggling to keep up with bills and debt repayments don’t need a crystal ball to see how these price increases will affect their household budgets. Our concerns for increasing household bills – particularly energy bills – lead us to create an Infographic called ‘Live more economically and save the planet’ that was aimed at helping people save money.

“Through our research we discovered that 4.8 million households are in fuel poverty – which makes these energy price hikes all the more alarming.”

With constant price hikes, increased costs of living, job losses, pay freezes and benefit cuts, one wonders what this figure will be at the end of 2013.

Baines & Ernst, a company which helps people get out of debt, also specialises in helping people reduce household bills through their free price comparison service, You Save.

“When the cost of living continues to escalate, people find it increasingly harder to keep on top of their finances and often find themselves in debt as a result. If people rely on additional credit and have no way to maintain repayments, they can easily find themselves in a position where they’re choosing between heating or eating, which is a terrible prospect to be in.

“Our free You Save service is available to everyone – you don’t have to be a Baines & Ernst customer to get help. We want people to save money on household bills and will compare prices against our panel of providers to help people find the best deal. We urge anyone who is worried about the price hikes to see if they can switch to a better, more affordable deal.”

Baines & Ernst aren’t alone on this matter as Money Saving Expert also advise consumers to seek a better deal – especially those where you can be locked into a fixed price for a set period of time, which will make you immune from the next round of price hikes, which E-On have suggested may still be on the cards.

The advice is to act now to secure a better deal and leave your current energy suppliers in the cold this winter.

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Imran Khan

Chrissy Hoey
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