ENERGY bills could top £7,000 next year piling further misery onto households, grim long-term predictions suggest.
Hard-up families could be paying £5,400-a-year in January or up to £7,200 by April, according to consumer champion Martin Lewis.
Some households which use a lot of energy could even pay up to £10,000-a-year, he suggested.
It comes after the energy price cap was confirmed to skyrocket to £3,549 on average annually by October.
Regulator Ofgem urged Britain’s next Prime Minister to act “decisively and urgently” to protect millions of households.
And Martin Lewis called the situation a “genuine social and financial catastrophe that is putting lives at risk”.
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The price cap rise was blamed on Vladimir Putin slowly and deliberately cutting the flow of gas to Europe in an attempt to weaken its support for Ukraine.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said it would cause stress and anxiety for people but insisted the Government was working to support them.
And Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, expected to be the next Prime Minister, vowed to "ensure people get the support needed to get through these tough times".
But her plan to scrap scrap green levies will give them back just a pittance of that rise over three months from October.
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Forecasters Cornwall Insight also predicted the price cap could hit £6,616 next April before reducing slowly.
Pressure is mounting to add to an existing rescue package announced in the spring with energy bills now rising 35 times faster than wages and 57 times quicker than benefits.
In an astonishing move, the public were warned they must think about rationing their gas and electric use.
The Resolution Foundation warned that by January families will pay £500 a month — treble the cost last year.
Low-income families are now seeing a staggering 46 per cent of their income going on energy bills — four times the amount last year.
Pre-pay customers will see a bill of £714 for January alone — more than half their monthly disposable income.
Consumer champion Martin Lewis said: “If we do not get further government intervention on top of what was announced in May, lives will be lost this winter.”
Sheila Correll, 80, from Lincolnshire, who is cutting back on food and use of appliances, said a lot of people say they’d be “better off dead” as they struggle with soaring costs.
The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies said cutting the green levies will only save a meagre amount between October and December.
Ms Truss also plans to reverse the National Insurance hike as PM.
Plans for more direct support are being drawn up but she is remaining tight-lipped about how much more she is prepared to spend.
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Rival PM candidate Rishi Sunak’s plan for direct support to poorer families while wiping VAT off bills would save families an average £51 between October and December, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.
The independent economic watchdog OBR confirmed it is preparing a forecast for any “emergency fiscal event” the new PM might announce when they take over on September 6.
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