Winter has been either a painfully expensive or incredibly cold month for many British families.
Household finances have been hit by hugely expensive energy bills, which has either forced cash-strapped consumers to shell out even more of their hard-earned savings, or turn the heating down ñ or off completely. Compare gas and electricity prices with Money Expert.
With customers already pushed for cash thanks to the soaring cost of living and wage freezes, price hikes across the board were hardly welcomed with open arms.
Now the news has emerged that France-based gas and electricity provider EDF has announced a substantial rise in global profits.
The company revealed it made net profits of Ä3.3bn (£2.8bn) in 2012, up 5% on the previous year.
UK underlying profits jumped by 7.5% in 2012, according to the French-owned supplier, although it insisted its gas and electricity residential arm remained loss-making, with performance driven by the generation business.
News of the hefty profit margins will not impress EDFís domestic customers, who were hit with average bill rises of 10.8% in early December.
The company, which supplies about 3.7 million customers in the UK, was named by regulator Ofgem as the most complained about of the ëbig sixí energy providers at the end of last year.
The least complained about energy firm is Scottish Power, which is owned by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola. Iberdrola also reported an increase in profits late last week, with net profits up to Ä2.8bn in 2012.
According to separate research by ING, energy bills topped the list of the three biggest reasons for dipping into savings. Grocery shopping and petrol costs were quick to follow, with 13% of respondents saying they believed that food shopping would soon become unaffordable.
If you are looking for ways to save on your household bills, compare gas and electricity prices with Money Expert.