| 25 May 2024, Saturday |

Millions of households face 12% gas and electricity price rise

A squeeze on household finances will become more acute as a new, higher energy price cap takes effect from Friday.

Typical default domestic energy bills are rising by $187 a year, and prepayment meter customers will see a $205 increase.

About 15 million households in England, Wales and Scotland are affected.

The cap has come under the spotlight owing to the crisis among suppliers, which has seen nine firms fold.

The cap limits how much providers can raise prices. Even so, the current increase is the biggest jump, to the highest amount, seen since the backstop was introduced in January 2019.

It represents a 12 percent rise in energy prices at a time of the year when, charities point out, people are about to use more heating and lighting during colder, darker days. It also coincides with other price rises hitting family budgets and the withdrawal of Covid support schemes, although the government has promised to continue financial help for the poorest households.

The cap does not apply in Northern Ireland where prices are overseen by a regulator.