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 the months go on ahead of another expected leap in the energy price cap from October.
The cap rose by a record £693 per year on average in April – with pre-payment customers, who tend to be among the most vulnerable, facing an even larger increase.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee heard Scottish Power chief executive Keith Anderson call for the cap system – blamed for the failure of dozens of competitors as they were unable to pass on huge rises in raw energy costs – to be scrapped in favour of a social tariff that would see the better off pay more.
He also suggested that, in the interim, a deficit fund should be established to allow people 10 years to pay off £1,000 on their bills.