Bosses of the UK’s largest energy firms have called on the government to intervene with ‘unprecedented’ measures to prevent a fuel poverty crisis next winter.
The chief executives told MPs investigating energy prices that while pre-payment customers were already reeling from the effects of rising bills, they expected the numbers in financial distress to only increase as time goes on ahead of another expected leap in the energy price cap from October.
Energy regulator Ofcom lifted the price cap on bills earlier this month, sending the average household dual-fuel tariff from £1,278 to £1,971. That is due to increase again in October, with some experts expecting the price cap to hit £2,600.
Keith Anderson, CEO of Scottish Power, called for the introduction of a £1,000 deficit fund or social tariff for vulnerable customers. The fund would take £1,000 off the bills of the poorest people in the country in October and the government or consumers would then pay this off over ten years, he suggested.
Mr Anderson said: ‘Come October that’s going to get horrific, truly horrific. It has got to a stage now where the size and scale of it is beyond what I can deal with, beyond what I think this industry can deal with. I think it needs a massive shift, a significant shift in the government policy and approach towards this.’