UK energy crisis as bills set to rocket at 50% up – Calls for government support

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Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action, said rocketing bills would be a “hammer blow” for vulnerable households. Energy costs might soar as much as 50 percent in the spring because of climbing wholesale prices, trade body Energy UK claimed. Mr Scorer said: “Energy prices are a cataclysm hurtling toward us. They will be a hammer blow for the most vulnerable households.”

“Millions will not be able to afford basic warmth and power. Families on tight budgets will be under unimaginable pressures. Levels of debt will rocket. More cold-related ill-health and early deaths are inevitable.” Mr Scorer continued: “Crossing your fingers and hoping it will be over quickly is no response.”

He joined Energy UK in calling on the Government to intervene with immediate support for the low-income households affected The current price cap on energy bills prevents
companies from immediately passing on costs from rising wholesale power prices to their customers.

The price ceiling set by officials at the industry regulator Ofgem has been at a record £1,277 since October 1. It is set to change on April 1 when the watchdog is expected to raise the cap significantly, which will in turn result in people’s bills rising.

Alex Belsham-Harris, principal policy manager at Citizens Advice, said: “Our advisers are already seeing people facing the desperate choice between heating and eating, and with energy bills set to soar next year this problem is only about to get worse.

“Right now the energy price cap is providing households with much-needed protection from rocketing energy bills. It’s also buying time for the Government to put in place measures to limit the financial pain of increased bills.”

At least 40 energy suppliers have gone out of business this year because of rising costs. EDF, the country’s fourth-largest energy supplier, said the situation was “critical”. Bosses said the Government must “act now to support energy customers”.

Nigel Pocklington, chief executive of supplier Good Energy, described the situation as a “national crisis”. Brian Horne, senior insight and analytics consultant at the Energy Saving Trust, said it was vital that people start making changes to cut back on energy use and save money, to reduce the impact of the price increases.

He said: “That might include making early improvements to insulation or heating systems to get ready for colder weather. Right now is also prime time to get to grips with your heating controls so that you’re only heating the space you need to heat, when you need to heat it, and to the temperature you need.”

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