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Today fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) reacts to the news that energy regulator Ofgem has raised the energy price cap for the second time this year, pushing average household energy bills to £3,549 a year from 1 October. The price cap is £1,971 currently. That’s an increase of around 80%.
We estimate that this rise has increased the number of UK households in fuel poverty from 6.5mn to 8.9mn.
Adam Scorer, National Energy Action (NEA) chief executive, says:
“The scale of harm caused by these price rises needs to sink in. A warm home this winter will be pipedream for millions as they are priced-out of a decent and healthy quality of life.
We’ve all seen the estimates from Cornwall Insight for the past months. Government has had ample time to prepare an intervention to match the challenge. We know who gets hit hardest, what impact it will have and how to get money into the pockets or off the bills of the most vulnerable.
Without bold action to support the most vulnerable and those on the lowest incomes, this will effectively prise their fingers from the cliff edge and push them over the precipice.
The government needs to immediately upgrade the household support package it first announced back in May. Households need money in their pockets to weather this storm or we are going to see millions in dangerously cold homes, suffering in misery with unimaginable debt and ill health.
Even with a mild winter, millions are facing a big freeze. Action is needed now to prevent the bleakest of winters.”
As a minimum National Energy Action wants the UK government to immediately:
- Double the cost-of-living support first announced back in May.
- With Ofgem, introduce a mandated social tariff and new fuel debt support scheme to further protect low-income households.
- Reduce the impact of higher standing charges and policy costs on bills by funding Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) out of taxation and removing legacy costs on bills.
- Deliver the full manifesto commitments on energy efficiency investment for fuel poor homes.
- Reduce the negative impact of changes to WHD targeting so that currently eligible households do not miss out on support.