British households could be in for a long winter, as energy companies Npower and British Gas have both announced that there will be big rises in the price of gas and electricity.

Npower will raise the price of gas by 8.8 per cent and electricity by 9.1 per cent, whilst British Gas announced that the charges for both types of fuel will be increased by six per cent.

Both companies said the price hikes were out their control, citing wholesale energy prices and the emission-reducing policies of the government as the reason for the price increases.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said that, "With winter approaching, low-waged people will now be terrified".

British Gas announced an operating profit of £345m in the first half of this year, after raising the price of gas by 18 per cent and electricity by 16 per cent in August 2011.

The price hike for British Gas will take effect from 16 November, with Npower raising their prices one week later.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner