Fury as millions face extra £139 on their fuel bills


    The rise coincides with colder weather, the end of furlough and the temporary £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit. Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said: “The price cap is going up because there has been a record increase in energy prices across the board, not just in gas and electricity but in petrol and diesel.”

    It means millions will be paying £235 more for their energy than just one year ago.

    Default tariff customers will see bills jump from £1,138 to £1,277 a year from October, an inflation-busting increase of more than 12 percent.

    Customers on prepayment meters, typically the poorest households, face an even bigger increase of £153, with bills rising 13 percent to £1,309.

    End Fuel Poverty Coalition co-ordinator Simon Francis, labelled the rise the “worst in the history of the price cap” and said it would drive almost 500,000 into fuel poverty.

    He added: “This unprecedented hike in energy bills comes at the worst possible time for millions of households.”

    Vulnerable customers, many of them elderly, would be especially hard hit as they struggle to switch supplier.

    Those on prepayment meters find it hard to access cheaper deals. The cap will come into force on October 1.

    This is one day after the end of the furlough scheme and the temporary £20 boost to Universal Credit, affecting almost six million households.

    Citizens Advice executive director James Plunkett warned of a “perfect storm” for families. He said: “Debt will be the inevitable consequence.”

    On Thursday, the Bank of England said inflation could hit four percent this year, up from 2.5 percent now, and this will add to the burden.

    Peter Smith, of National Energy Action, said: “This toxic combination of higher prices, reduced incomes and leaky, inefficient housing will lead to a further surge in utility debt and badly damage physical and mental health this winter.”

    Gareth Kloet, of GoCompare Energy, said households should shop around. He added: “Switching supplier could save up to £302 a year on your energy bills.”

    The cap was introduced in 2019 to stop providers overcharging households who remain on their supplier’s dearer default standard variable tariff.

    So far, big energy suppliers such as British Gas, EDF, Eon, Scottish Power, SSE, Npower and Utilita have increased their standard tariffs to the maximum allowed under the cap. Experts predict this will happen again.

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