Soaring gas demand could drive up energy pricesLong, cold winter puts pressure on UK gas supplies

22 March 2013

Gloves on a radiator

Britain's gas stocks are reported to be shrinking as the recent wintry weather increases household energy consumption. The cost of importing gas to meet demand could be passed onto customers through their bills.

After freezing temperatures and wintry conditions, households are using more energy to keep their homes warm, with gas demand 20% higher than normal for this time of year.

Cold weather spell

If the UK has to import more gas from overseas, it is likely that the increased cost of wholesale gas would be passed onto consumers through their energy bills. Energy prices are already the top financial concern for more than eight in 10 UK consumers, and an unexpected price rise would increase the squeeze on household budgets.

The government has responded to concerns about gas supplies running low. A Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) spokeswoman said: 'Protracted cold weather increases demand, but the UK gas market is responsive and our gas needs are continuing to be met.'

Finding a cheap energy deal

If energy prices do go up again, customers need to be able to easily find the best deal for them.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said:

'Prices will only be kept as low as possible if there is more effective competition and switching between energy companies. For this to happen the price of every tariff should be presented in a clear, consistent and simple way, through single unit prices like those for petrol and diesel, so people can easily spot the cheapest deal - not just with their current supplier but across the market.'

You can use our impartial, online switching tool, Which? Switch, to search for the best energy deal.

Stay warm and save money

You can cut your energy bills by making small changes that can add up to big savings. Blocking draughts from doors and windows could save you up to £55 a year, while replacing your old gas boiler with a new condensing model could result in savings of up to £300 a year.

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