Energy suppliers and consumer groups are calling on the Government to look now at bill support for customers this winter – including options such as a social tariff for next year and beyond.
National Energy Action joined with Energy UK, Citizens Advice, Fair By Design and MoneySavingExpert in calling for the Government to publish its planned consultation on a possible social tariff and other options for customer support. As Parliament goes into recess until September, it will now be very challenging for the Government to deliver on its pledge to introduce better targeted support by April 2024.
The organisations are also warning that, despite a recent price fall, millions of customers will still face a struggle to afford their energy bills this winter which are projected to be at least £600 higher than they were at the start of last year. The accumulated effect from an extended period of high energy bills and other cost-of-living challenges means that many customers risk falling further into debt, even as prices stabilise. They are calling for any support package to be targeted, funded fairly and to work with existing measures such as the Warm Home Discount.
In addition, it is being stressed that targeted help – as opposed to the universal support provided last winter by the Energy Bill Support Scheme and the Energy Price Guarantee – will require more time to introduce and for the Government to address this issue now, rather than waiting until the autumn.
Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action (NEA) said:
“Last winter was bleak but this winter is set to be even worse. Our figures show 6.6 million UK households are in fuel poverty – an increase of over 2.5 million since the energy crisis began. That’s millions more people going without hot food, warm showers and rationing their heating or turning it off altogether. A social tariff for the most vulnerable is vital to help those who cannot stay warm, safe and healthy at home.”