Millions of people across Britain will face a cold, expensive winter after energy companies announced their prices are set to rise by up to 14 percent.
This is an increase way above the average annual pay rise of around 3 percent.
The average household will be forced to pay £96 more a year for their energy.
Energy companies are blaming rising oil prices and shrinking domestic gas reserves for the rises.
British Gas is to raise its gas and electricity prices by 14 percent, while rivals Powergen increased its electricity prices by 7 percent and its gas prices by 12 percent.
EDF Energy has raised its gas prices by 12 percent and its electricity prices by 10 percent.
Consumer watchdog energywatch says that domestic gas and electricity prices rose by 21 percent and 17 percent respectively in the 18 months to August.
British Gas put up its prices twice last year. It saw its profits rise by 64 percent to £337 million in 2004.
The energywatch chief executive Allan Asher said, “The customers who really suffer from these price hikes are those who are already struggling to pay their bills following the last increase.”
As increasing job insecurity and continuing low pay affect workers this price rise will push many people to the limit.
It also shows how the privatisation of the energy industry has led to more problems for Britain’s workers and the poor.
New Labour has done nothing to reverse the robbery of the Tory years. Only taking the companies out of the hands of the profiteers can do that.
For more on the energy crisis see When the oil runs out