1. ITV Report

Why are energy bills going up?

The cost of household energy has risen more than five times faster than household income since 2004. Photo: PA

It's that time of year when the heating goes on and gets turned up, so the last thing we want to hear is that the cost of gas and electricity is rising.

The average cost of fuel from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) goes up by 9% today. It means the average householder in the south will pay an extra £8.50 a month.

The company says it has tried to keep energy bills down by offering various incentives but it is unable to keep prices at their current levels.

Kayleigh Taylor Mine contacted us to say her bill "was £44 a month for both, then it went up to £74 a month, now its going up again! How is this fair?" she asks.

Angie Sohn messages us to say: "I remember when a tenner of gas used to last me a fortnight. Now I'm lucky if it lasts a week. It's diabolical."

Sophie Lynne is a carer and worried about her patients. She says: "Some of the older generation pay top prices as they don't get on the best deal, and only heat the living room."

But Dawn Innes isn't affected this year as she is on fixed rate until March 2013.

The SSE says it stood by its pledge to hold its household energy prices at existing levels until at least October 2012.

But sustained increases in the cost of using the electricity and gas networks, the costs of mandatory Government-sponsored schemes and the price it has paid for energy in the wholesale markets now need to be reflected in household gas and electricity prices.

Ian Marchant, SSE Chief Executive, said: "In a time of economic difficulty, we have endeavoured to keep energy bills as low as possible. That is why we pledged last summer to cap our energy prices for as long as possible and until at least August 2012, and then in January extended this pledge to October 2012.

"Unfortunately, the increases in costs that we have seen since making this pledge can no longer be absorbed and mean that we are unable to keep prices at their current levels beyond this autumn. An increase in our prices has therefore, regrettably, become unavoidable.

"We remain committed to offering a fair price for the energy we supply and providing a range of practical and financial support measures for those struggling to pay their bills. We will also continue to build on the initiatives introduced over the last year to create a simpler and more transparent approach for all energy customers."

VIDEO: The Meridian Tonight item on higher energy prices.