It's a well-known fact that energy prices have been soaring in recent years, and the latest figures released by Citizens Advice show just how dramatic the increases have been.
According to the charity, gas and electricity costs have risen eight times faster than the average person's salary since 2010, as well as jumping by three times the rate of inflation.
The numbers make for tough reading considering the economic difficulties the country has had to endure since the recession, and also reflect the squeeze that energy bills are putting on household budgets.
To combat the problem, Citizens Advice CEO Gillian Guy has urged suppliers and the government to devise new methods for properly supporting UK homes, highlighting that many families risk reaching crisis point in the coming months.
While we wait to see if the government or Ofgem take decisive action to make bills cheaper, switching remains by far the most effective weapon at our disposal
It's a justified call - but the problem is that any changes with the potential to make a real difference will most likely take a long time to implement. Unfortunately, time is something families don't have as they search for ways to drive down their bills.
Yet even though prices are going up, households that haven't switched their energy provider can get a more cost-effective deal. This is a process impartial switching services such as ours can help customers with from beginning to end, and most agree that the chance to save hundreds of pounds is well worth fifteen minutes or so of their time.
Switching could mean moving away from one of the Big Six suppliers that have become synonymous with price rises in recent years. In fact, the latest figures show that more than 150,000 people have signed up to a smaller supplier since the start of October.
Many of the lesser-known companies offer competitive tariffs with different billing methods which are designed to make it easier for people to keep track of their costs - and with the Big Six attracting the bad press that inevitably comes with price hikes, it's no surprise to see their smaller counterparts starting to gain customers.
Still, at the moment less than 10% of households are actually engaging with the market to find a better deal - and there's good reason to believe that the higher this figure becomes, the better market conditions will be for consumers. While we wait to see if the government or Ofgem take decisive action to make bills cheaper, switching remains by far the most effective weapon at our disposal.
Image credit: FutUndBeidl
Scott has worked in the energy sector since 2006 and is a regular commentator on consumer issues in the industry in the UK media. Scott joined Make It Cheaper and its sister company UK Power in 2012 to use his passion and expertise to empower UK consumers to spend less and use less energy in their homes.
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