New research has forecast that average household energy bills will rise to more than£1,500 a year by 2015, making energy unaffordable and pushing more and more families into fuel poverty.
Energy bills have already doubled in the last eight years, say uSwitch.com, a price comparison website. Should energy prices continue to rise at a similar rate by 2015 annual bills could rise to £1,582 and £2,766 by 2018.
This news is only going to add to the misery many households already endure when it comes to heating their homes. According to analysts the rise will see six in ten households foregoing adequate heating because they cannot afford it, whilst almost four in ten will go without heating altogether.
£1,500 has been identified as the cut off point where the majority of householders in the UK start to think about rationing their energy use. By this point some 36% of households will switch off their heating completely, 59% will continue to heat their home but not adequately and 77% will look at ways of reducing the amount of energy they use.
If these estimations seem bleak, by 2018 the situation will be even worse. Should bills tip the £2,000 mark by 2016 as estimated it could well lead to people suffering ill health as they are forced to compromise on the well-being, leading to more than half, some 55% of people, choosing to turn off their heating.
Currently the average annual household energy bill is £1,252. That’s just £248 shy of the tipping point where energy goes past becoming affordable.
“Time is running out. If pricing trends continue we will hit ‘crunch point’ in less than three years, and that is without factoring in the cost of current energy policy,” said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com.
“Bills are already £248 or 17 per cent short of the £1,500 ‘tipping point’ at which consumers will be turning down and switching off. While we all have a responsibility to use energy carefully and sparingly, we also have a right to enjoy a safe and warm home. This will be compromised if bills rise much further,” she added.