An energy crisis is on the horizon as the UK is paying more than ever for electricity and gas despite using less.
Over the past decade, consumers have seen bills rise an incredible 52% above inflation, adding an average £410 per household, despite domestic energy consumption falling by an impressive 17% over the same period, according to consumer watchdog Which?.
Ahead of winter, the consumer group warned that 72% of the population were worried about high energy prices, according to their own surveys.
Which? described the energy price rises as “massive”, and said major reforms are needed to restore any confidence in the sector.
Executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd, said: “At a time when rising energy prices are consumers’ number one concern, it is shocking that people are paying more despite using less. That’s why it is all the more urgent that regulators and government act to give consumers confidence that the price we are paying for our energy is fair. Major reforms are needed now to restore trust in the industry and to guarantee fairer energy prices for consumers.”
Energy secretary Ed Davey said: “We want an energy market that works for consumers which is why we ordered an annual competition assessment that has seen the whole sector referred to the Competition and Markets Authority for the first time.
“In the meantime government is making it easier and quicker for people to switch energy suppliers, and has acted to cut household bills by an average of £50 this year.”
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said: “Under David Cameron’s government, Britain is facing an energy bill crisis, with millions of people struggling to heat their homes. Labour has already set out radical plans to freeze energy prices until 2017, saving the average household 120, and fix the energy market for the future, with a tough new regulator to curb rip-off bills.
“But one of the main reasons our energy bills are so high is that our homes are some of the least energy-efficient in Europe -– leaking heat from their roofs, walls and windows. That’s why Labour has set out plans to freeze energy bills, reform the energy market and upgrade at least five million homes over 10 years. Our plans will mean cheaper bills and warmer homes for millions.”