UK consumers have been warned that extra cost being passed onto them in order to pay for the upgrade or replacement of the nation's gas supply could be a "drop in the ocean".
Online comparison site uSwitch claims that Britons may have to stump up an extra £1.3 billion collectively to pay for the upgrade over the next five years.
The group believes that individuals could have to pay an extra £50 over the next five years to pay for the upkeep of the mains and speculated that Britons already spend a fifth of their bill (£100) on such costs.
Commenting on the news, Ann Robinson, consumer policy director at the group, warned customers that the initial extra payment could pale into insignificance compared to the £12 billion which National Grid, responsible for running half the UK's gas-main networks, requires.
"This initial investment is purely to cover work needed for public safety - and it will be the first of many energy-related tabs that consumers can expect to be picking up," she said.
"Consumers can also expect to be forking out for maintenance of pipes and wires, new power stations, replacement of generation capacity and ongoing maintenance. And then there is also the national grid to consider," she added.
Ms Robinson urged consumers to remain savvy and shop around for the most competitive deals to keep future costs down.
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