Energy bills: Rishi Sunak urged to offer households more support | Personal Finance | Finance

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Energy regulator Ofgem has confirmed its price cap will increase on January 1, but households are still covered by the Energy Price Guarantee, which caps the typical annual bill at £2,500. The limit is due to increase by £500 to £3,000 a year from April 2023. In response, a recent poll of readers found that 84 percent of contributors think Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should offer more support.

Ofgem’s increase next year will have no change on direct debit customers but prepayment customers will see their bill increase from an average of £2,559 to £2,579 a year. Meanwhile, pay-on-receipt customers will see a rise from £2,715 to £2,754.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis said: “For most people, the change will be trivial, but it is disappointing to see more substantial increases, with some on prepay metres seeing rises of one percent, which include most of the poorest in society.”

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, warned that some high-usage or inefficient households “could see prices rise even further”.

Grant Shapps, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, said: “Changes to bills here are about the way the price cap operates to reflect cost to serve, rather than related to the Energy Price Guarantee.”

READ MORE: Warning as household bills will suddenly increase next year

In response, ran a poll from 12.30pm on Thursday, December 22, to 1pm on Thursday, December 29, asking readers: “Should Rishi Sunak offer more support as energy bills soar again?”

Overall, 1,754 readers responded with the vast majority, 84 percent (1,467 people), answering “yes” in favour of more support towards energy bills.

However, 15 percent (262 people) said “no” Mr Sunak should not offer more support, and a further one percent (25 people) said they did not know either way.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on the cost of living support.

To support households with spiralling energy bills, the Government offered £400 payements, spread over six instalments between October and March. The scheme, open to all households with a domestic electricity connection, cost the Government £1.9billion in November.

In addition, some eight million households on means-tested benefits can apply for a one-off £650 payment towards the cost of living. A further six million people claiming disability payments can receive £150, while pensioners are eligible for winter fuel payment and claim a one-off £300 payment at the same time.

Charity National Energy Action predicts that 8.4 million households could be in fuel poverty from April. The Social Market Foundation senior researcher, Amy Norman, said last month: “High energy prices could be the new normal, but our current energy policies aren’t set up to help people with what could be a decade of painfully high bills. Our current approach means millions of people are missing out on the help they really need.

“Politicians of all parties should come together to develop workable long-term policies that get help to the people who need it most. That means developing new systems to identify people in need and get help to them: the public sector today simply lacks the tools needed to make sure money to help with energy bills is going to the right places.”

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