Households should brace themselves for energy price hikes, not just over the coming year, but over the next five years too, with one energy expert predicting bills could double.
Last winter the big six energy companies all implemented price hikes of between 6% and 11%, but energy experts say households are likely to be hit by further rises (see our Cheap Energy Club to cut bills).
Mark Todd, from comparison site Energyhelpline.com, says over five years they "could be up 50%-100%".
Providers themselves are also hinting at price rises. Only last week Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) warned households that prices will continue to rise. It said unless wholesale prices fall, then it is "highly likely" these costs will be passed on to consumers.
Meanwhile, British Gas, despite pledging earlier this month to use increased profits from the bitter winter to keep prices on hold for "as long as possible", stopped short of announcing a formal price freeze for a defined period (see the British Gas price promise MSE News story).
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Energy price predictions
Below are what four energy experts predict energy prices to change over both the coming year and over the next five years:
Anyone on their provider's standard tariff is almost certainly paying too much as the typical cost of such dual fuel deals is around £1,420 a year, whereas average dual fuel users on the very cheapest deals will pay around £1,157.
If you're worried about prices rising, consider locking into a fixed deal now. Npower's Price Fix September 2016, for example, costs an average dual fuel user £1,320 a year and promises no hikes until 30 September 2016.
Meanwhile, EDF's Blue+Price Promise February 2015 is fixed until 28 February 2015, costing the average user £1,190 a year. Both tariffs also have no early exit fees, so if you want to leave early, if prices elsewhere get cheaper, you can.
Energy prices will however vary depending on your usage and where you live. You can use MoneySavingExpert.com's free Cheap Energy Club to find the best deal for you.