To add further fuel (bad pun isn't it?) to the rising inflation figures (3.3% or 4% depending on which you believe), energy companies are expected to raise their prices by up to 40% this year as a result of the trebling in wholesale gas prices (which are linked to oil prices).
The average UK energy bill is expected to rise from £1048 to £1467 in the next 7 months.
Consumers may be forgiven for thinking that Ofgem the energy regulator will step in to protect them. However, this is a false hope, MPs have accused Ofgem of being a toothless tiger that does not do enough to help consumers.
Lindsay Hoyle, Labour MP for Chorley, attacked Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem's chief executive. Mr Hoyle said that energy companies blamed poor planning laws for not building enough storage facilities to enable Britain to be self-sufficient. However, he said that it was in the companies' interests to maintain a shortage so as to increase their profits.
Mr Hoyle is quoted in The Times as asking Buchanan whether he was prepared to act now to address the issue, adding:
"Or are you the toothless tiger that we imagined?"
The next 12 months will be very tough for all in the UK. The government remains on the sidelines, a bemused observer wringing its hands.