British Gas is set to raise electricity prices by more than a sixth and gas rates by almost a fifth from mid-August.
The move, which is due to take effect from August 18th 2011, comes in the wake of a steep increase in wholesale costs, which have risen by 30 per cent since last winter.
According to Centrica, the owner of British Gas, wholesale prices are up due to growing global demand for gas as a result of greater consumption in Asia and the impact of unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.
Wall cavity and loft insulation could help customers combat the price hike by saving them around £110 and £145 per year respectively, the company added.
Responding to the news, energy expert at Consumer Focus Wales Lindsey Kearton insisted the rise will send a "shockwave" across the UK.
"The impact on customers will be severe, piling more pressure on severely stretched household budgets and pushing tens of thousands more households into fuel poverty," she said.
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