By RACHEL KANE
FAMILIES have to prepare for a winter of discontent as massive gas and electricity hikes kick in tomorrow.
Homes will see their fuel bills rocket, with four gas suppliers set to introduce increases in the next 24 hours.
Flogas which suppliers gas to around 20,000 homes, revealed yesterday at the last minute that they are to raise charges by 21.5 per cent.
Bord Gais and ESB Electric Ireland will also increase domestic gas bills by a similar rate at the same time.
Last month Airtricity said electricity prices would rise by 12.4 per cent from September 1, while gas prices go up by 21.2 per cent tomorrow.
Standing charges, which are fees paid to other firms for use of their network, will also rise by 12.3 per cent, but gas standing charges will be unchanged, meaning consumers will have to pay an extra €120 per year.
"We've known for some time that these increases were coming... but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow," Simon Moynihan of independent price comparison site bonkers.ie told The Star.
The cost of home electricity from the ESB will also rise by 15 per cent tomorrow, adding an extra €100 to the average household's yearly lighting and cooking bill.