Household finances are likely to come under increasing pressure in the coming months and older homeowners in particular may be finding it hard to balance the bills.
British Gas owner Centrica announced earlier in the month that it is likely gas and electricity bills are going to have to be put up later in the year, due to the fact wholesale costs are rising.
Homeowners will therefore have to plan for energy prices to rise in the coming months and equity release plans are one of the ways they could look to raise money.
Products of this nature allow individuals to unlock some of the money that is locked away in the value of their home and the cash can be used to cover bills, to help out family members, or even to go on a dream holiday or purchase a new car.
Chief executive at national charity Citizens Advice Gillian Guy stated the prospect of energy bills rising again is going to be a "huge worry" for a lot of people this year, pointing out many are still struggling to come to terms with the impact of the increases in 2011.
"Many household budgets are at breaking point and we urge British Gas to think about its customers and the extra pressure any rise will put on their finances," she said, adding: "Energy companies need to keep prices as low as possible to avoid more people being pushed into fuel poverty or debt."
According to research recently conducted by price comparison site uSwitch.com, those who search for energy deals online have seen costs increase slightly in recent months, which means they may no longer be able to save as much by switching to a different provider.
Emma Bush, energy expert at uSwitch.com, explained this is because of the volatility in the energy market at the present time.
Posted by Tom Papworth