UK household energy bills have soared by £590million so far this year after no fewer than 19 suppliers announced prices hikes.
The price rises will affect 11million households by an average of £52 per home, but some will be hit by increases of up to £91, according to new research by uSwitch.
Energy firms have blamed the hikes on rising wholesale costs since January.
Ecotricity has the most expensive standard variable tariff at £1,258, according to uSwitch.
Bill shock: UK household energy bills have soared by £590m so far this year after no fewer than 19 suppliers announced prices hikes
However, British Gas’ price rise of 5.5 per cent affected the most customers, adding a collective £246million to the bills of four million households across the country.
Bulb and Eon have both announced two separate increases in 2018.
Challenger brands, which make up 18 per cent of the retail energy market, have been issuing similar hikes.
Price increases from providers such as First Utility, OVO and Utility Warehouse mean that in total price rises from challenger brands affect more than 700,000 customers, adding a further £36million to bills across Britain.
On average, standard variable tariffs are £205 more expensive than the cheapest deal available.
However, more than two million customers have switched this year, to save money on their bills and to protect themselves against further price hikes.
Ofgem is also furthering plans to give compensation to people in the event of a problem with their switch.
Rik Smith, uSwitch energy expert, said: ‘Price rises have been affecting customers of both large and small energy suppliers since the tail end of 2017 and unfortunately there seems to be no end in sight.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a price rise from every energy supplier before the end of the year and maybe a second price rise from a few more – wholesale prices have simply skyrocketed over the past few months.
‘However, with more price rises, more households are switching away to better tariffs, forcing suppliers to continue to compete by offering cheaper fixed deals.
‘Now is the time to lock in as cheap a deal as possible and protect yourself against rising wholesale costs.
Soaring costs: Standard variable tariffs are up by 5% on average during 2018
He added: ‘There are still plenty of cheap plans around that could save you up to £491, all for only ten minutes online, on the phone or on an app.
‘Five million homes switched last year and it looks like even more are taking control of their bills this year.’
Separate research by Compare the Market has also found that 80 per cent of households (more than 22million) don’t submit monthly meter readings, while one in ten admit they don’t know who is responsible for monitoring their monthly energy usage.
Worse still, new Government figures have revealed that 79 per cent of the population don’t have smart meters, with most being encouraged to submit regular meter readings.
However, submitting meter readings is no guarantee of getting an accurate bill; 23 per cent of those who did submit readings found that they had been significantly overcharged.
The younger generation is the worst affected, with 32 per cent of 18-24 year olds admitting that they don’t know who their energy provider is and 30 per cent do not know where their energy meter is. More worryingly, 57 per cent say they rely entirely on their supplier to calculate their bills.
But they are not alone.
Feeling the heat: British Gas’ price rise of 5.5% affected the most customers, adding a collective £246m to the bills of 4m households across the country
Forty per cent of all other age groups also admit to taking a backseat when it comes to addressing their energy costs.
Despite their reliance on energy companies, 22 per cent of customers say that they do not think their energy company treats them fairly and 30 per cent have never been prompted to submit a reading by their supplier.
Furthermore, 57 per cent of UK customers claim they don’t fully understand their energy meter.
Seventy six per cent of customers questioned have also never queried an energy bill based on consumption calculations.
Peter Earl, head of energy at Compare the Market, said: ‘It is disappointing to see that so many households are not encouraged to submit regular meter readings by their supplier.
‘Keeping a close eye on whether your monthly bill and meter reading tally up, is one of the most effective ways for customers to ensure they are on the best tariff possible.
‘It is particularly concerning that engagement is so low among the younger generations, who could easily be taken advantage of by firms who rely on inertia and a lack of engagement to make money.’
QUICK MONEY SAVER: CAN YOU CUT YOUR BILLS?
Energy firms are constantly battling to pinch customers from each other.
Shrewd consumers can take advantage of this by reviewing deals every year to ensure they are on the cheapest deal. Even moving every other year will save you significant amounts.
If you are one of the millions of people who have NEVER switched (i.e. stuck with your original supplier), then you should save a big chunk of cash. A tenth of switchers saved as much as £537 in 2017, according to energyhelpline.
You only need to be interested in the tariff that is going to be cheapest where you live, so do your own postcode comparison in minutes using the tool above – or here – to find the best price.
Read more about other quick tricks to make sure you are getting the best deal on your household bills here