SCOTS gathered outside Ofgem’s office in Glasgow on Friday to demand an energy price freeze just hours after the regulator announced the price cap will hit £3549.

Energy prices are set to soar by 80% on October 1, on top of April's rise of 54% which left average households with a yearly bill of £1200.

Demonstrators urged the UK Government and the energy body to act now amid warnings by charities that families will have to choose between heating and eating this winter.

The National:

Campaign group Power to the People Glasgow, which organised the event, said power prices should be frozen while late fees and prepayment metres should be scrapped.

Labour councillor Matt Kerr, who helped organise the event, said the rise in energy prices is a political choice.

READ MORE: British Gas imposes 'windfall tax on itself' amid Tory inaction, SNP MP says

He told The National: “This whole country needs a pay rise, it needs a rent freeze and it needs something done about the cost of energy.

“People are not going to be able to afford to live in the coming month if what was announced today goes ahead.

“People are already struggling. If energy goes up the game is over. The increase for next year is beyond belief.

“This is an attack on working people and it’s also a political choice."

Kerr said politicians at all levels should act, adding that the UK Government “needs to pull the finger out and do something about the failed market that is causing this”.

He added: “Let’s not forget that energy prices quadrupled before Ukraine.

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“At a Scottish Government level, things like rent freezes would help and at a local government level we need to be creating warm centres.”

One protester told The National she doesn’t know how she will cope with the planned rise in energy bills this winter.

“I am a pensioner and from today more than half of my state pension will have to go on heating one room for one hour of the day,” she said.

“I don’t know how I’m going to manage over the winter.

The National: One pensioner warned that the rise in energy costs will lead to deaths this winterOne pensioner warned that the rise in energy costs will lead to deaths this winter

“It's not as if there isn’t enough money in the country. There is. We’re a rich country.

“There’s absolutely no reason why the wealth that’s being generated should be siphoned off into the bank accounts of the ultra-rich while the rest of us suffer and die because the cold this winter will kill working-class people who are unable to heat their homes.”

READ MORE: Scotland’s councils plan ‘warm banks’ to help freezing Scots

Former MSP Frances Curran, a Power to the People campaigner, said: “We want a price freeze on October 1. People cannot pay this.

“While they’re increasing our prices energy companies are raking it in.

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“I think it’s going to make a lot of people angry. This Government will not survive if it does not put through a price freeze on October 1.”

Ofgem confirmed an 80.06% rise in the energy price cap for around 24 million households in England, Scotland and Wales, sending the average household’s yearly bill from £1971 to £3549.

The cap will come into effect on October 1, but Ofgem warned that some suppliers could start to increase direct debits before then to spread costs.

It will remain in place until December 31, when it will be adjusted again, with latest forecasts warning bills could surge again to around £5400 in January and around £7,000 in April.

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The regulator, energy sector and charities were immediately united in calling on the Government to increase its support for households who were facing “the bleakest of winters”.

Ofgem’s chief executive Jonathan Brearley urged the incoming prime minister and new Cabinet “to provide an additional and urgent response to continued surging energy prices”.

READ MORE: FM demands action as Ofgem raises energy price cap to 'unaffordable' £3549

The regulator said the increase reflected the continued rise in global wholesale gas prices, which began to surge as the world unlocked from the Covid pandemic, and had been driven still higher to record levels by Russia slowly switching off gas supplies to Europe.

Brearley said: “The Government support package is delivering help right now, but it’s clear the new prime minister will need to act further to tackle the impact of the price rises that are coming in October and next year.

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“We are working with ministers, consumer groups and industry on a set of options for the incoming prime minister that will require urgent action. The response will need to match the scale of the crisis we have before us.”

Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) estimated that the 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.