£100 per year added to energy bills - whichever supplier you're with

Words by ITV News Consumer Producer Hannah Kings

Temperatures may be falling, but energy prices keep rising - and according to the chief executive of the UK's biggest energy company, that's not going to stop anytime soon. Record wholesale gas prices are putting many suppliers in difficulty, with 22 energy companies collapsing since August. This has left almost 2.5 million customers to be taken on by other suppliers.

Now, Chris O'Shea, who runs Centrica - owner of British Gas - has told ITV News that it's not just those whose suppliers have failed who will see their bills go up.

In the next 18 months, he expects around £100 to be added to every customer's energy bill.

This is because companies taking on customers of failed suppliers recoup costs from an industry fund which is paid for through all our bills. Centrica is now calling for tighter regulation in the industry to prevent similar failings in the future.

"It's hard to argue it's fair that customers of companies like British Gas are subsidising customers of companies that have failed," he said.

Zoe Howe struggles to pay for energy for herself and her four-year-old.

Many customers are already struggling to pay their bills, and they're worried about how they'll manage when costs increase. Zoe Howe has a four-year-old daughter and finds it difficult to meet costs for the energy they need.

"It's scary," she told us. "Bills are constantly rising. It's horrible, it's degrading, I don't want to go and ask people and look like I can't provide for my daughter."

For years, the advice has been to switch your energy supplier to save, but now experts are saying that the best option is to sit tight and stay with your current provider - even if you're worried about the company's future.

Tashema Jackson is from switching site Energy Helpline - she says she understands why people have lost faith in switching, but does think it will come back.

"There will absolutely be a market for people to continue to switch and save when this volatility comes to an end," she said, adding when that time comes, customers should consider other factors such as customer service, innovation and price when choosing an energy supplier.

With more suppliers expected to fold before the winter is over, the energy industry is heading for an uncertain few months.

What is certain though, is that customers will all see bills go up again soon.

If you're worried about paying your energy bills, free debt help and advice can be found from Christians Against Poverty.