A Bank of England (BoE) report has said that spiralling costs faced by energy suppliers is likely to result in hikes to domestic energy bills by the start of 2013.
The BoE’s predictions echo a warning by British Gas owner Centrica earlier this year that consumers are set to be hit with a 15% hike in gas prices next winter, as energy companies try to offset the costs of increases to the price of wholesale gas.
The BoE said that although consumers may be sheltered from rises to gas and electricity price rises in the autumn, the picture may be different at the turn of the year. This is despite the fact that wholesale gas prices have fallen by 9% since May.
It has voiced concerns that the increased costs for distribution, development and infrastructure maintenance faced by suppliers may lead to soaring energy bills in the first months of 2013.
Although increases in domestic energy prices are likely to be small, Lucy Darch, an energy expert at uSwitch.com, has said that this is still worrying news for consumers.
“In the last six years, household energy bills have rocketed by 91% – from £660 a year in 2006 to £1,259. With winter approaching, any further price hikes would put more pressure on many households, especially the third already finding their current energy bill unaffordable,” she said.
“While there is no clear indication that prices will go up, worried consumers can act now. Consumers should ensure they are paying as little as possible for your energy and also look at using less by being more energy efficient.”