With Britons continuing to struggle with money, it is important that they take steps to ensure the heat on their financial situation is not turned up even further.
Such is the claim of uSwitch, which reports that despite a series of price increases occurring earlier in 2008, consumers should prepare themselves for at least one more round of hikes in the cost of gas and electricity. According to the price comparison firm, experts believe that the cost of energy bills are set to surge by up to 40 per cent over the remainder of this year. Such a move would see the typical household bill stand at 1,467 pounds by this winter, a rise of 61 per cent from the 912 pounds which was noted at the start of the year.
Following on from rising utility bill costs it may also be possible that consumers encounter problems in managing other areas of monetary demand. These areas may well include personal loans, transport expenses, store cards and groceries.
In addition, it was asserted that should rises of this magnitude take place then some 1.6 million Britons would be plunged into a state of fuel poverty, causing the total of such consumers reported to be struggling with utility bills to stand at 6.1 million. The projected increase in utility costs was partially attributed to rises in wholesale gas, in addition to a lack of storage capacity for energy within British shores.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: "The days of cheap energy are over. Households could see the largest ever increase in household energy bills this year. If suppliers do increase bills by a further 40 per cent by this winter then consumers will have seen a 61 per cent or 555 pounds increase in household energy bills in a year. If average energy bills do hit 1,467 pounds by the end of 2008, spending on energy will account for five per cent of the average household's net income. This is going to cause huge financial pressure and consumers will naturally expect their salaries to increase to help them meet the spiralling costs of living and working in Britain."
She went on to report that as the financial outlook is "grim" it is important for consumers to be proactive in negating the impact that prospectively higher household bills will have on their finances. Ms Robinson reported that although online and capped tariffs can be of assistance, those wishing to take advantage of such deals will have to act quickly as availability begins to diminish.
The news comes as Britons are shown to be increasingly struggling with overall demands on their finances. Although uSwitch pointed out that net salaries have increased by an average of 44 pounds per month this year, expenditure on necessary monetary demands - energy, food, mortgage repayments and fuel - has gone up by 148 pounds.
For consumers concerned about how they will manage their money in the face of rising energy costs and a slowing in wage growth, applying for a debt consolidation loan might be recommended. In getting such a loan, borrowers may be able to merge numerous constraints on their spending into a single low-cost monthly repayment. This may be of particular assistance after a recent moneysupermarket study revealed two-thirds of Britons claim to be "very concerned" about their ability to manage money should the cost of energy continue to rise.