An increase to the energy price cap in April could see the cost of heating the average home doubling since last April, a charity has warned.
Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) warned that average domestic dual fuel energy bills, which have already soared by more than £230 per customer compared with last winter, could increase by a further £550 a year.
NEA also warned that the average household gas bill could increase by £467 compared with October last year, meaning the cost of heating the average home will have doubled since last winter.
The warning comes as suppliers have been collapsing across Great Britain in recent weeks, after the price of gas spiked by as much as five times compared with the start of this year.
The price cap is currently set so low that energy suppliers are having to pay more for the gas they buy than the amount they can sell it for.
Energy prices have spiked globally due to a series of issues aligning around the world. Increased demand from a reopening economy has been paired with higher demand from China, and a summer that was less windy than normal.
At the moment the regulator caps the energy bills of more than 14 million households at £1,277 per year on average.
A consultation on potential changes will end in February, and they could be implemented at the beginning of April, when the price cap is set to change.
Even before potential changes, experts at analysts Cornwall Insight predict that energy bills will rocket to £1,660 per year for price cap customers.
A poll by NEA found six out of 10 British adults say they would reduce their heating use by a fair amount or a great deal if the cost of heating doubles.
Some 85% of UK residential buildings, or 23 million homes, are still currently connected to the gas grid, using a boiler and central heating system.
NEA chief executive Adam Scorer said: “Every home should be a warm and safe place, but for over 4.5 million UK households the cold reality is very different and getting much worse.
“The cost of living in the UK is at its highest level in a decade, with household energy bills the biggest driver. When the costs of essential services go up, those on lowest incomes get hit hardest.
“Bills have increased by well over £230 since last winter and millions now face a daily heat or eat dilemma. We estimate energy bills will rocket again in April, doubling the average householders’ heating bills since last year.
“Over the same period, those on the lowest incomes have seen their income plummet by over £1,000 per year. Just think about that. For people already on a budgetary knife-edge, the cost of keeping a family warm has exploded, while budgets have collapsed. No amount of useful tips or savvy shopping can cope with that.”