Millions of households around the UK will see their energy bills increase from October 1 as the energy price cap rises from £1,971 to £2,500 a year.
With the energy bills twice as high as last winter, charities report that many households across the country will be struggling to make ends meet.
Adam Scorer from charity National Energy Action said: “People have had to choose between heating and eating. This winter millions will not have even that choice.
“The most vulnerable, including children, will be cold and hungry as energy prices spiral, despite Government support.
“Energy bills almost doubling in a year is unaffordable for millions and our survey shows people are already cutting back on the quality of what they eat as well as the quantity.”
The government’s recent two-year price guarantee means a typical household won’t pay more than £2500 annually, down from the £3,549 that was predicted earlier.
What the new energy price cap means for energy bills
Most households will have their utility bills increased by an average of 27 percent from October 1.
Although each household will receive a £400 electricity discount in six instalments which will be deducted automatically from most bills, charities predict many households will fall into fuel poverty.
The two year energy price cap of £2,500 does not mean energy bills can’t get higher, as households still pay for the gas and electricity used.
A household using an average of 12,000 kWh of gas and 2,900 kWh of electricity will not pay more than £2,500 a year starting October 1, but a household exceeding that amount will still have to pay more than the price cap.
What help can I get if I can’t afford to pay my energy bills?
There are several organisations that can provide help and advice for households struggling to pay their energy bills.
People struggling can contact Citizens Advice via phone or web chat to receive help and advice.
Local councils might offer help paying for things like energy and water bills, food and essentials.
Some energy suppliers offer grants to customers who are behind on their energy bills or who are struggling to pay them.
Here are the energy suppliers offering grants to their customers as listed by Citizensadvice:
- British Gas Energy Support Fund - apply for a grant on the British Gas Energy Trust website
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund - apply for a grant on the Scottish Power Hardship Fund website
- Ovo Energy Fund - apply for a grant on the Ovo Energy Fund website
- E.ON Energy Fund - apply for a grant on the E.ON Energy Fund website
- E.ON Next Energy Fund - apply for a grant on the E.ON Next Energy Fund website
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund - sign up to the priority services register to apply for a grant on the EDF Energy website
- Bulb Energy Fund - apply for a grant on the Bulb Energy Fund website
- Octopus ‘Octo Assist Fund’ - apply for a grant on the Octopus website
- Shell Energy Support Fund - apply for help on the Shell Energy website
A full list of grants and benefits available to help with energy bills can be found on Citizen Advices website.