Heating Bills 'Rise 63% In Five Years'

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The average cost of heating a home has soared by 63% over the past five years, according to research.

The price comparison website, uSwitch, calculates that the bill is up £227 over the period - hitting a new annual average total of £587.

It said the string of recent price hikes announced by energy companies will add around £40 to the average household heating bill for winter 2012.

The typical total household energy bill stands at £1,334 a year, uSwitch found, showing a £515 increase in the space of five years.

The website's research suggested that three quarters of homes went without heating at some point to keep their costs down last winter and predicted that 87% of families are planning to ration their heating this winter.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: "It now costs households a staggering 63% more a year to heat their home than it did five years ago.

"This increase has knocked consumers for six, leaving many fearful of how they will afford to keep warm during the winter months and leading to growing numbers rationing their energy use even during the harshest weather."

Households have been urged to shop around to cut their bills, with a difference of more than £300 between the cheapest and the most expensive energy tariffs.

Energy (NYSEArca: JJE - news) companies have largely blamed rising wholesale costs for the latest increases in bills.