What does the future hold for energy prices?
Energy bills have been climbing steadily in recent years, and it doesn’t appear that the future is likely to provide any respite for cash-strapped consumers.
Figures brought to light by Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint have already revealed a wide gulf between the prices that gas and electricity suppliers pay for their energy, and the bill footed by consumers – with this difference rising by 39% for electricity and 69% for gas in the past 10 years.
This means that consumers have seen their energy bills climb by £250 a year (£91 for electricity and £165 for gas), putting an additional £6bn in the pockets of the UK’s leading energy suppliers, compared to a decade ago.
Commenting on the data, Ms Flint said: “They always blame rising global energy prices for putting up people’s bills, but these figures show they’ve been increasing their profits on the back of spiralling energy bills for hard-pressed households.”
A report by the Renewable Energy Foundation has argued that the UK government’s drive to increase the country’s reliance on renewable resources could cost each family an extra £600 a year by 2020.
Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “Theannual additional cost to consumers will be upwards of £16bn a year in 2020, which is over 1 per cent of current GDP.
“One third of this cost would hit households directly through their electricity bills, regardless of income, making it an intensely regressive measure”.
Earlier this year, energy regulator Ofgem also argued that energy prices could also be set to soar as a result of the UK’s increasing reliance on gas imports.
However, while the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) argues that while renewable power, nuclear and energy efficiency measures will add £286 to consumers energy bills by 2020, the fact that consumers will reduce their energy consumption will also mean that energy bills are lowered by £452 per household.
Ultimately, consumers can still work to find competitive energy prices for their needs, including the best domestic heating oil prices, regardless of what state the economic climate is in.