GAS and electricity bills will increase "significantly" next April when the energy price cap is raised, the regulator warned Brits today.
Experts fear customers face paying as much as £800 more to stop providers soaking up the cost of soaring global gas prices and going bust.
Energy firms are currently banned by law from charging more than £1,277 per year.
But the boss of regulator Ofgem which sets the price cap said he expected a "significant rise" from April.
Chief executive Jonathan Brearley said: "We understand how difficult it is and when we talk to customers of course they are worried about rises in their bills.
"But the price cap is there to protect customers against unfair profits but legitimate costs do have to be passed through.
"And unfortunately we have seen an extraordinary rise in the gas price.
"It's hard to tell how much but we do expect bills to rise in the future."
Mr Brearley wouldn't say how much the cap would rise by but experts fear it could break the £2,000 barrier, hiking bills by as much as £800.
Joe Malinowski, founder of price comparison site Energy Shop, said: "If things don't settle down soon, increases of £600, £700 or even £800 cannot be ruled out."
Analysts at Cornwall Insights reckon it'll be around £1,660, so a £400 increase.
PAYING THE PRICE
Twelve firms have so far gone to the wall after the price cap meant they had to absorb the international increase in energy prices.
There are concerns more could fold but Mr Brearley said the price cap would not be changed before April.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been blamed for squeezing the gas supply to drive up prices in a bid to win approval for a new super pipeline.
Asked about Kremlin foul play Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "There's a massive global uplift in prices and, as the world has woken up from, you know, being in a slumber of coronavirus, as with a lot of commodities the price has gone up.
"I don't know the extent to which there's any sort of Russian intervention."
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