Households have been warned that a round of energy price rises is on the cards as suppliers pass on recent wholesale price hikes.
"Price rises are coming," a source at one of the 'Big Six' energy firms told The Sun.
"None of us bigger firms will want to go first but it will come to a point where we have to.
"Hiking before Christmas will mean we get a lot of grief so firms will sit there now doing the maths to see how long they can hold off."
According to the source it will be the smaller energy firms that will increase prices first, but the big brands will soon follow suit.
"The bigger ones can hold off a bit longer than the smaller ones.
"They pre-buy more power and also have deeper pockets to soak up tighter margins for a while."
The source predicted a hefty increase of 13%, which would add around £140 to the average annual energy bill.
Time to fix?
If you aren't currently on a fixed-price energy deal, now could be a good time to move onto one, says Ben Wilson, spokesman for price comparison site Gocompare.com.
"There are currently some very competitive energy deals on the market and simply switching supplier can make a big difference – potentially slashing £100s off your energy bills," he says.
"Comparing tariffs and switching suppliers is quick and easy. Literally, in the few minutes it takes to enter your details – which can easily be found on your last gas or electricity bill – you could be £366 better off."
5 ways to cut your usage
Once you've got the best possible price for your energy the next step is to cut your consumption.
Here are five easy ways to cut back.
- Start showering – A long wallow in a hot bath can be tempting in the cold winter months but it uses 40 litres of water each time. A shower uses a lot less water, and therefore a lot less energy to heat that water.
- Switch your lightbulbs – if you've still got any old-fashioned lightbulbs in your house swap the for energy-saving bulbs. According to the Energy Saving Trust each one can save you £9 in electricity over the year.
- Turn your thermostat down – Reducing your central heating by just one degree Celsius can save you up to £40 a year.
- Use a colder wash – Doing your laundry in a 30C wash rather than 40C can save 30% more energy.
- Pull the plugs out – Many household appliances continue to use electricity even when we're not using them. So, when you switch something off unplug it too. According to Friends of the Earth a DVD player uses 85% of its working electricity even when it is switched off.