Consumers could end up paying double for their gas bill in the next few years, according to British Gas chairman Jake Ulrich. Links to the rising price of oil and an increasing reliance on gas imports are being blamed for the steep rises.
A report for Centrica, the owner of British Gas, says energy bills could soar by as much as 60% over the next two years. It warns the average annual gas bill could reach £1000 soon after 2010. It adds that rising oil prices and declining output from the North Sea means there will be an impact across consumers and businesses.
Ulrich also indicated that gas prices are likely to rise before the winter. All six major energy firms have already raised prices this year by an average of 15%. But there are fears that many will raise prices at least once more before the end of 2008.
The report warns that consumers will have to get used to permanently high prices. Ulrich says people will be “hit hard” and will adjust their behaviour, lowering the temperature they keep their house at and being more aware of energy waste.