We are still to feel the full effects of the latest price rises so energy costs are likely to put even more of a financial strain on households in 2013.
While incomes have increased in the last seven years, they have not kept pace with the rate that energy and fuel costs have risen, meaning that people are spending more of their income on fuel.
"This is especially true for older people who are often on lump or fixed incomes or whose savings income has fallen.
More top news
One estimate suggests that higher mortgage repayments could squeeze hard-pressed householders into debt peril.
Calculate your monthly mortgage repayments if interest rates rise.
Fast-melting Arctic sea ice has forced some 35,000 Pacific walruses to retreat to the Alaska shoreline.