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Energy bills alert as campaigners demand costs to users are cut by £500

Urgent action has been demanded of the new Labour government to protect millions against new energy bill hikes.

Fuel poverty campaigners said average bills could have been £500 a year lower if action to protect consumers had been taken earlier.

Average bills are due to fall by some 7 per cent from July 1, however a rise of 10 percent is forecast to come into effect on October 1, which will drive up bills this winter.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition argues there are ways to protect millions by reducing standing charges, removing VAT from energy bills and embarking on a mass home insulation scheme.

Co-ordinator of the Coalition, Simon Francis, said: “Throughout the energy bills crisis we have seen sluggish progress on insulating and ventilating our homes, bringing down standing charges, moving to cheaper energy sources and bringing in comprehensive support for vulnerable households with their energy bills.

He continued: “Had we seen more concerted action on all these fronts, then the Ofgem price cap coming into force on July 1 would be £1,071.98 – £496.62 lower than what the average household is going to be paying.

“Given energy bills will stay high for the foreseeable future we now need the next Government to act quickly after the election to end energy debt, protect households from the volatile global energy market, bring down bills for good, improve housing standards and make Britain a clean energy nation.”

Chief among the asks for new ministers are to launch a comprehensive plan to bring down standing charges, provide more support for vulnerable households this winter and create more energy efficient homes (by strengthening minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rental sector and laying the statutory instruments needed for the Future Homes Standard and the Clean Heat Market Mechanism).

The organisation said the majority (57 percent) of the public also back a social tariff, designed to offer cheaper energy to vulnerable households.

A social tariff is a discounted energy bill for people in greatest need, such as those people that have low incomes and are elderly, have young children or rely on energy for medical needs.

It argued this could be paid for from the £427bn in profits that have been generated by the whole energy industry since the start of the energy bills crisis.

Warm This Winter spokesperson Fiona Waters said: “Energy bills will go up again in October and years of staggering prices have taken their toll.

“Customers are already £2,500 out of pocket because of Britain’s broken energy system and now we know they are going to continue to be penalised if we don’t see the reforms we need.

“As well as the plans to insulate homes, bring down standing charges and provide support through a social tariff, we also need to see new renewables schemes that, according to the House of Commons Library briefings, are able to generate electricity more cheaply than fossil fuels.”

Juliet Phillips, UK energy lead at E3G added: “It’s been repeatedly shown that investing in long-term, clean solutions to fix our broken energy system will bring bills down permanently.

“The British public backs common-sense proposals to upgrade our homes and ensure that everyone can afford to heat their home. We urge all political leaders to make this a national priority, and take action before energy bills are set to soar again this winter.

“Without action, households are set for another £200 price rise in the Autumn, as the UK remains dependent on expensive foreign gas.”


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