Political leaders in the city have slammed British Gas after it announced price rises of 12.5 per cent.
The increase is expected to affect up to 3.1 million customers countrywide.
The energy firm said it held off from the price rise for “up to six months longer than some of our competitors”.
John Galley, deputy leader of Chelmsford City Council, said more needs to be done to regulate rises.
He said: “The figure I heard about was a £177 increase per household per year.
“This is so much more than a rise in council tax from the city council, which is often about £5 extra a year.
“We need to remember that many people who are affected by this will not be having a pay rise.
“I am not sure who should regulate it, but something should be done.”
Stephen Robinson, leader of the Chelmsford Liberal Democrat Party, said: “There are a number of factors behind this price increase.
“One is how the exchange rate of the gas that we import has changed.
“Another big factor is the value of the British pound, which has decreased since the Brexit vote.
“This is a negative impact of that referendum and we have not even left the EU yet.
“I think the price increase shows how important it is that people switch their energy suppliers to make sure they get the best price.
“When the Lib Dems ran the Department for Energy in the Government we made sure there was a wide range of companies for customers to choose from.”
Chris Vince, from Chelmsford Labour Party, said: “When Labour campaigned to freeze energy prices in 2015 it was a policy popular on the doorsteps of Chelmsford. Despite being critics of the policy at the time, the Tories stole Labour’s pledge.
“Which is why the announcement by British gas to increase electricity prices by a massive 12.5 per cent is evidence not only of another Government U-turn but also this Government’s failure to put working people before big business. While many families struggle to pay their bills the CEO of British Gas earns millions. “Only Labour will stand up for everyone in our society and not just the privileged few.”
Chief executive of Centrica, Iain Conn, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that electricity was facing “significant cost pressure” on transmission and distribution, as well as costs associated with Government policy.
He said: “The net effect of both of these is an increase of about £62 on the average bill, and that is the main driver of the increase. Our electricity prices at British Gas have been some of the cheapest in the market, and we’re now selling our electricity at a loss, which is clearly not sustainable.”