Updated: 7am Friday 25 August
- This Friday (25 August), the UK energy regulator Ofgem announced the new level of the energy price cap, for 1 October to 31 December.
- Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action says this will leave 6.3 million UK households in fuel poverty, up from 4.5 million in October 2021.
- The charity says more government support is needed this winter and it must recommit to consult on a longer-term social tariff.
National Energy Action’s fuel poverty estimate in this release is based on Ofgem’s price cap of £1,923 a year for a typical bill from 1 October. This is still around £700 more than in October 2021, when the energy crisis began when 4.5 million UK households were in fuel poverty. This winter, there is no £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme, which means many households will be paying a similar amount on their energy bills as last year.
Beyond providing further support to vulnerable households this winter, National Energy Action (NEA) says the UK Government must stand by its commitment to develop a new approach to energy consumer protection from April next year, including consideration of a social tariff for low-income and vulnerable households.
Chief Executive of National Energy Action (NEA), Adam Scorer, says:
“Any fall in the price cap is welcome but for 6.3 million households still in fuel poverty it will make precious little difference. The price cap does not protect those who simply cannot afford the cost of keeping warm. That requires direct government intervention through bill support, social tariffs and energy efficiency.
“For a third straight winter, vulnerable households will face stubbornly high bills and an increasing energy debt mountain. This winter there is no Price Guarantee and no £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme. The absence of targeted further financial support this winter to reduce the energy bills of the most vulnerable will mean millions of unheated homes and spiralling debt. It will add to the queues of people for the NHS and for the overstretched resources of charities like National Energy Action.
“The UK Government can still act – by directly reducing energy bills via targeted energy discounts or a more targeted Energy Price Guarantee for low-income and vulnerable households. It knows how to do it. It has millions of pounds unspent from previous schemes. It is aware that failing to act will consign millions to another winter of despair and suffering.
“Beyond this winter, stubbornly high prices are here for the foreseeable future, but the UK Government is backing away from the commitment to consult on a longer-term social tariff. That would leave the energy market stacked against low-income households. It would bake fuel poverty into the system. We also need long term investment in energy efficiency to build fuel poverty out of our homes.”