ENERGY bills could hit £4,000 next year, according to a grim new forecast.

Consultancy Auxilione warned that the Government’s price cap could be hiked up further than previously expected over the winter.

They said that between October and December the price cap is likely to be £3,488 per year for the average household, but from January the price will soar by another £500, hitting £3,994.

Energy bills are currently capped at £1,971. 

Conor Forbes, director of policy with Advice Direct Scotland, said there could be help available for struggling Scots.

He said: “This latest warning will alarm many households across Scotland.

“We know that people are already struggling with recent rises, but there is a very real likelihood of huge increases this winter.

“Free support and advice is available for anyone in Scotland through, and our advisers can explore eligibility for grants such as the Scottish Home Heating Support Fund or ensure that households are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to.”

The prediction came after Ofgem announced that the energy price cap would now be updated quarterly. 

The regulator said the move was an attempt to reduce the risk of prices rising quickly when wholesale prices go up but falling slowly when they go down. 

They warned that consumers are facing a "very challenging winter ahead" as Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to volatility in the global market. 

This period of volatility lasted “much longer, with much higher prices for both gas and electricity than ever before”.

Ofgem hopes the change will "provide the stability needed in the energy market”.