Gas and electricity Updated:
Over the last few months, UK consumers have suffered an onslaught of energy price hikes with all major suppliers implementing rises of a greater or lesser extent. Some of these were pared down when the Government announced changes to green levies, but it wasn't enough to fix consumers' growing dismay with energy companies or solve the problem of those struggling to pay bills.
But, with many firms fixing tariffs to at least 2015, could price hikes finally be on the backburner?
Hopefully, for the time being at least, this idea will hold true. All of the Big Six have pledged to hold current prices well into 2015 while some smaller companies have gone so far as to offer four-year fixes, so ideally there shouldn't be any more price hikes for the foreseeable future – or for this winter at least.
However, there is a caveat. Whilst we hopefully won't see price rises for the next year most suppliers have said that if wholesale prices or other costs rise significantly they could be forced to push prices up again, so consumers that aren't on fixed tariffs could suffer the consequences of a variable rate.
"Soaring energy bills in the last 12 months have meant that 2013 has well and truly pulled at the purse strings of UK households, with average energy bills increasing from £1,259 in September 2013 to £1,323 [after the latest round of hikes].
"Those who switched in late 2013 saved on average £159 while those who didn't switch would typically have suffered price increases of £64. The average price hike for 2013 will be 5.1% [while] 2012 saw even higher rises averaging 8.9%.
"Unfortunately 2014 may bring more price rises though it is really too early to tell yet. We have now had 4 years of energy price rises in a row… everybody will be hoping that 2014 is at last the year that breaks the sequence."
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