CIEH urges urgent action to stop millions falling into fuel poverty

26 August 2022, Ciaran Donaghy

Following reports that Ofgem is set to imminently increase the price cap to £3,549, CIEH has urged the UK Government to intervene to prevent millions of households falling into fuel poverty this winter.

This recent price cap increase, an 80% increase on February’s price cap, is another huge blow for already struggling consumers who have seen staggering price cap volatility in the last 12 months, increasing from £1,277 in October 2021 to the reported figure of £3,549.

Furthermore, Ofgem’s decision to revert to a quarterly price cap means that consumers are at risk of even further increases in January, with market analysts predicting January’s price cap to be as high as £4,650.

Increases to energy bills are already responsible for an estimated 2.5 million households with children estimated to be in fuel poverty from 1 April 2022.

The Government has already announced financial support for household bills providing £400 payments to households over the winter months. However, CIEH are urging the Government to do much more, both in terms of increasing the amount of financial support provided to households as well as introducing a raft of energy efficiency measures to lower bills and to support households through this spiralling cost of living crisis.

Recent research from Friends of the Earth and New Economics Foundation into energy crisis hotspots shows how an emergency energy efficiency scheme for England and Wales could be delivered by local authorities over the coming months, starting with the neighbourhoods most in need, to protect people from soaring bills before this winter and beyond.

Ross Matthewman, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said:

“Following reports that Ofgem is to announce yet another crippling increase in energy bills, we urgently call on the UK government to intervene to protect millions of households being plunged into fuel poverty this winter.

While we welcomed the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme, it is apparent that £400 spread over six months is simply not going to be enough to tackle the spiralling cost of energy crisis, with more significant intervention needed.

Not only are we are calling on the government to double the amount of financial support provided to households to protect households this winter but urging them to introduce a raft of energy efficiency measures. Such measures can act both as a means of supporting households most in need right now as well as shielding households from spiralling energy bills in the long-term. Energy efficiency measures also play a key role in fighting climate change and reducing carbon emissions.”

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