Gas and electricity Updated:
Households are bracing themselves for soaring fuel bills this month as freezing weather sets in.
People will see their fuel bills rocket to an average of £190 this month - £84 more than February last year - as a cold snap and higher prices grip the UK.
The whole of the UK will face a monthly bill of £4.9 billion this month, compared with £2.7 billion in February 2011, research by Energyhelpline.com has found.
Temperatures are predicted to plummet this month, and are forecast to be 6.7 degrees colder than the same point last year, meaning the amount of gas needed to heat a home will rise by more than a third.
The combination of cold temperatures and typical gas prices being an average 18% higher than last winter has meant households around the country are now having to find an extra £2.2 billion for the month.
If temperatures stay on track with what has been forecast, the UK's 26 million homes are set to pay £189.82 this month compared with £105.59 for the same period last year.
The £84.23 difference consists of an extra £64.10 because of how much colder the weather is this year and £20.13 because of the 18% gas price hikes over the summer.
"This news will send a chill down the spines of millions of embattled energy customers who have been braving the elements and juggling their household budgets this week," Mark Todd, director of Energyhelpline.com, said.
"As we look ahead to a bleak forecast of snow and sub-zero temperatures this weekend and beyond, energy consumers will be facing a nagging doubt over whether they can afford to heat their homes."
Homeowners who have not recently shopped around the energy market could find they are paying more for their bills than they need to.
Just a few minutes research could save people more than £200 a year on their gas and electricity bills.
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