ENERGY may “increasingly become a luxury only the wealthy can afford,” anti-poverty charity, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has warned. 

In a terrifying new analysis, they have said bills could soon outstrip people’s incomes “to the point where paying them becomes fantasy.”

Single people in particular could soon need to pay an unfathomable 120 per cent of their income just to keep the lights on. 

Ofgem announced on Friday morning that the energy price cap will rise by 80.6 per cent in October, taking the average household’s yearly bill from £1,971 to £3,549.

It is then set to rise again in January next year, with most experts forecasting another huge increase. 

According to their analysis, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that it would be those with the least who would be impacted the most, with the average low-income family forced to fork out four and a half times more for energy in 2023/24 compared to 2021/22.

They said that next year, the poorest fifth of families in the UK  - those forecast to have an average income of £11,600 after taxes and paying for housing - would need to pay 46% of their income on energy bills. 

For middle-income families - those with average incomes of £31,400 - it will be a still historically large 19%. 

They warned that single parents will need to spend two-thirds of their income on gas and electricity. 

While some single adults will see their finances “wiped out” with energy bills making up almost 120% of their income after housing costs. 

“This is a truly impossible situation leaving them having to cut down on energy use even to pay their bill and having no money whatsoever left over for food or other essentials. 

“That means in order to pay energy bills alone, they would have to use their entire income and find even more money. They would almost certainly become destitute as a result,” the foundation said. 

Couples without children and lone parents on low incomes will hand over almost two-thirds of their income.

Peter Matejic, the Chief Analyst at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “The Government devised its support package based on a previous energy price forecast made obsolete by today’s extraordinary announcement. 

“With the price cap very likely to increase significantly and forecast to remain high well throughout next year, our analysis shows it is a sheer fantasy to think struggling families can pay these stratospheric energy bills without further government intervention on a significant scale.

“In all my years as an analyst, I haven’t double-checked a piece of analysis as much as this one because it is so staggering, it feels incorrect. 

“It is impossible to think a care worker or a shop assistant will have to scramble to find hundreds more pounds to pay for their heating or that the entirety of someone’s income for a whole year will be less than their energy bill.

"But that’s what these figures suggest will be the case unless significant further steps are taken quickly.

“Ministers have a choice about who shoulders most of the burden – families, businesses or the public finances.

"Whoever occupies No 10 next will be remembered for who they protect - they must make sure energy doesn’t become a luxury only the wealthy can afford.”

Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) has estimated that the price cao rise would increase the number of UK households in fuel poverty from 4.5 million last October to 8.9 million this October, even taking into account the Government’s support package announced in May.

The charity's chief executive Adam Scorer said: “The scale of harm caused by these price rises needs to sink in. A warm home this winter will be pipedream for millions as they are priced out of a decent and healthy quality of life."