The average household energy bill will become unaffordable if pricing trends continue, leaving the vulnerable forced to turn off their heating, research from comparison site uSwitch.com reveals.

Key Points

  • Energy bills to hit £1,500 a year by 2015, says uSwitch
  • Forecast to hit £2,766 a year by 2018
  • Average energy bill today is £1,252 a year

Household energy bills have more than doubled in the last eight years for the average dual fuel user.

However, uSwitch says, if this trend continues, the average bill will break the £1,500-a-year barrier by 2015 and will continue upwards to hit £2,766 a year by 2018.

If bills hit the £1,500 mark, almost six in ten (59%) of those surveyed said energy will become unaffordable, 77% said that they would be forced to ration energy, 59% said they'd have to go without adequate heating, while 36% would be forced to turn their heating off entirely.

If bills then smash above £2,000 a year, which forecasts suggest could happen in 2016, the numbers potentially compromising their health will grow higher.

At this point uSwitch research shows almost nine in ten households (88%) will ration their energy use, 75% will be go without adequate heating and over half (55%) will turn their heating off entirely

Ann Robinson, from uSwitch.com, says: "The UK is hurtling towards a cliff beyond which the price of household energy will become unaffordable.

"Once the average bill hits £1,500 a year consumers will be forced to compromise on their comfort, health and well-being."

Prices already unaffordable

Almost a third of consumers (32%) say household energy is already unaffordable. The average household energy bill today is £1,252 a year, just £248 short of £1,500.

Earlier this month big six provider Eon promised to freeze gas and electricity prices for all of its domestic customers until the end of the year, while Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) said last month it remained committed to freezing prices until at least October this year.

British Gas on the other hand warned earlier this month it may have to raise household rates due to rising wholesale costs, which are the prices energy firms pay for power.

Fellow big six providers EDF, Npower and Scottish Power refused to state whether they are likely to raise prices this year when asked by MoneySavingExpert.com earlier this month.

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