Martin Lewis has said people will be forced to choose between heating and eating this winter, as energy bills are set to skyrocket.

In an “emergency video on the energy bill catastrophe,” the financial journalist said the end to the uplift in Universal Credit, the end of the furlough scheme and high inflation mean it is “a terrible time for people’s finances”, and that the energy price rise will mean some will struggle to make ends meet.

His warnings come as a global energy crunch has forced up wholesale gas prices by more than 455 per cent in the past year.

He said that, rather than being able to find cheaper rates at other providers, families should look towards “damage limitation” to protect themselves from surging energy bills.

“The cheapest tariffs available today are 40 per cent more than the cheapest tariffs a year ago, so anybody coming off a cheap fixed deal, you are going to pay very substantially more than you were before, and it’s about choosing what you do at that point,” he explained.

Martin said that the price cap, due to rise by 12 per cent at the start of October, is based on gas prices in the six months up to the start of August, which means consumers can be locked in at a lower price than the cost price for energy companies.

However, if prices do end up falling, some could end up paying a higher rate than deals on the market when the price cap is reviewed again in April, he said.

The money saving expert said consumers can opt to stick with the standard variable price your energy company offers - as there are very few deals available that are cheaper than that, and “cross your fingers” that gas prices will fall by April. Alternatively, he said consumers can lock themselves into the cheapest one or two year fixed rate you can find - and said that some of those deals “may not last the day”.

He said: “If things do continue to rise and we see a huge rise in the price cap, you have then locked in at a cheaper rate, but those deals are not likely to last for long.”

For those who may struggle to cover their energy costs, he urged people to seek help from a range of organisations, and also to contact your energy provider - as some may have funds that can help to an extent.

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