No matter who you get your gas and electricity from, it's already clear that April is going to bring a large increase in energy bills.
For many customers though, now getting letters and emails from their energy provider explaining what they will be charged from next month, the rapid increases are more frustrating because the firm writing to them is not actually the company they chose as their supplier in the first place. Energy industry regulator Ofgem has a duty to ensure all customers have gas and electricity supplies even if their provider goes out of business.
With 30 such companies going bust over the last year in light of rapidly rising prices, there are a handful of companies Ofgem has decided are 'safe pairs of hands' to inherit customers who now have no energy supplier, including Shell Energy, Eon, British Gas, Octopus, EDF, Scottish Power and Yü (no, me neither).
Read more: My E.ON energy bills are going up by a massive £1,000 - but do we stay or switch?
Since September 2021 Ofgem has assigned Shell more than 600,000 new domestic and business customers through this process. So former customers of GOTO Energy, Daligas, Pure Planet, Colorado Energy and Green Supplier Limited are now finding themselves with Shell, whether they wanted to be or not.
I am one of those customers.
I've always considered myself financially savvy. I'm an avid follower of Martin Lewis. I've had more than £1,500 in Quidco cashback over the last three years by training myself to check everything I buy online before I click 'pay now' and I always make sure that when our home or insurance renewals come through I shop around and get a better deal.
Where energy is concerned, I've always been on top of our usage. There are no estimated bills in our house, I send our meter readings every month without fail, and I've made sure we've fixed our tariffs whenever we've been eligible to depending on the best availability in the market.
I've always felt that being proactive and organised helped us stay in control of our spending and its impact on the family budget. But, in these crazy times and with the cost of living spiralling, none of that seems to count for anything anymore.
I vividly remember, early last year, Green Network Energy was one of the first providers to sink into administration, scuppered by increasing fuel costs and a majority of customers who had fixed their rates when wholesale prices were lower.
Watching the news unfold I remember saying to my husband - who has no idea who our electricity provider is and doesn't especially care as long as the kettle works when he switches it on - how lucky we were to have avoided the faff, having moved from GNE to Pure Planet on a 12 month fixed tariff just a couple of months before, coinciding with us moving house.
But in early October we were one of around 235,000 domestic Pure Planet customers who woke up to emails telling us: "The Government and Ofgem, our regulator, expects Pure Planet to sell energy at a price much less than it currently costs to buy. This is unsustainable, and therefore, we've had to make the difficult decision to cease trading. We're so sorry."
We were told to keep paying our direct debit to Pure Planet until Ofgem was able to move us over to a 'safety net' provider, which they would do in due course.
Despite regular updates it turned out that process would take four months. Our first Shell Energy bill was finally ready to view on February 9 and when it did the news wasn't good.
We'd been moved onto their Flexible 6 tariff, the standard variable tariff and the cheapest they offered at that time.
It cost 23.30p per day for electricity and 26.11p per day for gas as standing charges and 20.772p per kWh for electricity and 4.186p for gas.
In comparison our fixed rate with Pure Planet was 15.6818p for electricity and 3.08482p for gas per kWh while our standing charges, once a dual fuel discount had been taken into account, worked out at just 17.81p per day.
The £187 a month direct debit we'd been paying with Pure Planet had continued throughout and the funds had been transferred to Shell but we were still left with £347.43 to pay for the period of the changeover.
Meanwhile, logging into the Shell Energy app it was plastered with warnings that we should increase our direct debit to £409 a month to ensure we covered the rising prices.
Thankfully this isn't mandatory, so we instead decided to pay the balance and see what a 'regular' month would cost once everything settled down with the switch over.
This month's bill is £263.21 and that is basically with me being hyper vigilant. I work from home five days a week and now only take off the Snuggy I got for Christmas for video calls. We've abandoned the idea of buying a new tumble drier, instead embracing the Aldi heated airer that's £100 cheaper than Lakeland's one.
I am following my children round the house switching lights off as fast as they switch them on. The heating is down to 18.5 degrees and all doors to non essential rooms are closed, especially the kitchen which, for reasons I can't quite understand, turns into an ice box of an evening.
Everyone has a long hot water bottle to warm their bed before they go to sleep, and the kids think it's a hoot because theirs are shaped like sausage dogs. But it's no joke.
Thankfully we're not on the breadline. There won't be any concerns about us choosing between heating and eating and I know we are very lucky to be a two income household. There are so many people much worse off.
But even on that basis, knowing that these prices are going to rise again when Ofgem raises the energy price cap by 54% at the start of April leaves me genuinely worried.
Shell's latest email tells me that from April we'll be moving to a Flexible 7 tariff which will see electricity go from 20.871p to 29.239p per kWh with a 37.92p standing charge (up 13p a day) while case goes from 4.055p to 7.344p per kWH with the gas standing charge from 26.11p to 27.22p.
You know the world's gone mad when mentally you're thinking 'ah only 1p a day on the gas charge, that's good'. They project this will work out as an annual increase of £1,184 a year, taking our annual bill to £3,342.
But I fear this is the tip of the iceberg.
Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis has offered his advice on what Brits should be doing before their energy costs soar, which you can read about here. I've taken the advice, along with almost all of the other suggestions I've seen elsewhere on how to cut back bar one.
Having been emergency tech support for my mum-in-law every time her smart meter has glitched in the last two years I absolutely refuse to have one installed.
Lewis and other financial experts are unanimous that now is not the time to switch because you'll face hefty exit fees if a better deal comes up in the next few months and you want to move again.
Meanwhile there are no decent fixed rate deals to move to anyway. So here we are. I would not have chosen Shell as my energy provider.
Like many people I have always perceived them, rightly or wrongly, as an environmentally unfriendly company and, while I understand that all their plans now come with 100% renewable electricity as standard, they would not be my first choice of supplier. But right now there is nowhere else to go.
Like hundreds of thousands of other people all I can do is stay where Ofgem has put me for now, watch, wait, and turn the lights off as my children leave the room.
Being used to being proactive with my budgeting as an energy consumer that feels weirdly passive and very worrying indeed.
Approached for comment, Shell Energy underlined that the advice on increasing my direct debit would be influenced by a range of factors including previous and projected usage, location and existing balance on the account and therefore was specific to my account and not necessarily reflective of other customers' experiences.
A Shell Energy spokesperson added: "Many families are worried about what rising energy prices will mean for their finances, particularly when the prices of so many other goods and services are also increasing.
"Our priority is to provide help for our customers. We have set up a support hub on our website which shows the additional measures we can offer, signposts government schemes and debt support, as well as giving energy-saving advice.
"We would urge any customers that are struggling, to get in touch with us. We have a dedicated Payment Advice Team on hand who can put in place supportive measures including payment holidays and reduced payment amounts, and we will help ensure that customers are receiving all the support available to them."