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Posted by John King
Rising energy bills have been taking their toll on consumers' finances during the economic downturn.
Even the shift toward green energy is having a negative impact on people's wallets, as investment in new energy infrastructure is driving up costs for householders.
Recently, Which? noted that ministers should put consumers at the heart of any energy industry reforms, with the cost of fuel being the top priority - not the development of green energy alternatives.
The watchdog's executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Transparent and robust processes must be put in place to ensure value for money."
Heating oil customers are not immune to the fluctuations of the wider energy markets and costs have been rising in recent months.
Unfortunately, some areas of the country seem to be facing far steeper rises in energy costs than others.
New research from Lincolnshire Council, for instance, has shown that expenditure on energy is rising at a higher rate than the national average, reports the Lincolnshire Echo.
Local councillors believe that the cost of fuel in Lincoln could go up by as much as £500 per year in 2013 - which could potentially drive more people into fuel poverty.
Chairman of the environmental scrutiny committee, councillor Colin Davie told the news provider: "Fuel poverty in this county is a serious problem."
He claimed that the government should be addressing energy security and ensuring that people have access to fuel - such as heating oil - at an affordable price.
"Energy prices are crippling people at present and it isn't fair," Mr Davie concluded.
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat county councillor John Marriott told the paper that education was the key to cutting energy expenditure.
Switch maker Sangamo recently claimed that other industries should be helping to tackle the rising cost of energy.
The firm noted that heating oil customers could save money by having better central heating control units installed.
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