Energy bills are now rising at their fastest in three years

 
Emma Haslett
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Energy prices are rising at their fastest since 2014 (Source: Getty)

A spate of price hikes by UK energy providers has pushed up bills by the most in three years, new research has suggested.

Average energy costs have risen 5.3 per cent in the past 12 months, MoneySavingExpert.com's Bills Tracker suggested - the fastest rate of increase since February.

The rise was driven by a jump in electricity prices, which have gone up nine per cent.

In August Centrica, the owner of British Gas, announced plans to hike the price of electricity by 12.5 per cent from the middle of this month. That pushed the average annual dual fuel bill for a typical household on a standard tariff up £76, or 7.3 per cent, to £1,120.

That made last Friday the most expensive day of the year for the 3.1m customers affected by the hike, which led to a 150 per cent spike in customers changing energy providers.

Meanwhile, household bills as a whole, which include "unavoidable" expenses such as water, council tax, fuel and insurance, rose 2.4 per cent in the year, 0.3 per cent higher than last month's figure.

That's lower than the government's favoured rate of inflation, CPIH, which takes into account a "basket" of goods including gin, smartphones and biscuits half-coated in chocolate.

"At this time of year most of us will be wondering whether to turn the heating on," said Megan French, consumer expert at MoneySavingExpert, today.

"But you don’t have to take these rises lying down, you can switch and save. The average household can cut their bills by more than £300 per year if they swap energy provider."

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