March 8, 2022 1.30 pm

‘How are people going to live?’: Lincolnshire condemns imminent rising energy prices

“How can they think people can can pay that amount and they get away with it”

Some residents in Lincolnshire are being expected to pay more than double on their energy bills this year, as the cost of living crisis continues to hit thousands of families across the UK.

Prices are soaring everywhere you look. It’s something that we’ve all bared witness to, whether it be food imports, national insurance or petrol prices; and now the public are facing a new, even bigger obstacle in the form of rising energy bills.

As of April 1, there will be an energy price cap increase for around 22 million customers in the UK, seeing people on default tariffs go from £1,277 to £1,971 per year; an increase of £693.

The price cap is updated twice a year to track wholesale energy costs and stop energy companies from making excessive profits, but with the companies having to pay more to supply electricity and gas, customers will have to pay more too.

Dozens of energy companies have either exited the market or gone bust since the soaring prices, which has prompted fears of a true crisis with no end in sight.

The Lincolnite asked readers about their hiked bills, as energy companies have been writing to customers to let them know how much they are expected to pay, and the responses mostly told the same disappointing tale.

Most were reporting huge increases of around £700-800 a year, while others were saying they have been told they will be paying more than double on energy bills when the cap is brought in.

Christine Burton said she fears we “soon won’t be able to live let alone have any sort of life”, while Mark Coker Terry called it an “absolute disgrace”.

Yvonne Mitchell said: “Ours has more than doubled. We paid £109 for gas and electric and we’re now paying £211 a month just for gas. Shocking!”

Debbie Blyth Green is another local resident who has seen her bills double, and has questioned how some will be able survive the cold months if this does not change.

She commented: “How are people going to afford to live? If a single parent or pensioner still uses the same amount of gas on their wage, people will freeze. Mine has doubled.”

As well as this, many have reported increases to their standing charges as well, which Karen Parrott described as a “pure profit” tactic from energy companies.

Standing charges are the cost of connecting your home to the energy grid, charging a set fee each day regardless of your energy usage.

From April 1 the direct debit standing charges for electricity and gas will rise from 25p to 45p and 26p to 27p respectively, largely due to the amount of energy companies that have gone bust over the last year.

Along with the energy price hikes, the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit deals and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine are being seen as major contributing factors to the general cost of living.

Petrol prices reached the highest levels in over a decade late last year as a result of rising global oil costs, as well as a switch to a greener petrol alternative with a greater ethanol percentage in September 2021, and prices have only risen since then.

Proposals to hike National Insurance payments in order to aid NHS recovery post-COVID were approved by parliament in September, with all of Greater Lincolnshire’s MPs voting in favour of the rise.

The hike, which will also be introduced from April this year, will see employers and the self-employed pay 1.25% more for National Insurance.