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Ofgem Price cap fall will still leave 6.3 million households trapped in fuel poverty, campaigners warn

LOWERING this winter’s energy price cap will do nothing to drag more than six million households out of fuel poverty, campaigners have warned.

Ofgem is expected to announce tomorrow that average annual bills will be set at £1,925 from October, but National Energy Action (NEA) stressed the amount would still be about £700 higher than before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The charity also echoed a warning from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition that a decision by Tory ministers to scrap the Energy Bills Support Scheme earlier this year means most people will not notice any cut to gas and electricity costs from last winter.

As well as providing immediate further support to vulnerable households, NEA urged Downing Street to “stand by its commitment to develop a new approach to energy consumer protection from April next year, including consideration of a social tariff for vulnerable households.”

Chief executive Adam Scorer said: “Any fall in the price cap is welcome, but for 6.3 million households still in fuel poverty it will make precious little difference.

“The price cap does not protect those who simply cannot afford the cost of keeping warm – that requires direct government intervention through bill support, social tariffs and energy efficiency.”

Ministers are well aware that “failing to act will consign millions to another winter of despair and suffering,” he added. 

“Beyond this winter, stubbornly high prices are here for the foreseeable future, but the government is backing away from the commitment to consult on a longer-term social tariff.

“That would leave the energy market stacked against low-income households and it would bake fuel poverty into the system. We also need long-term investment in energy efficiency to build fuel poverty out of our homes.”

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition noted last week that the expected £1,925 figure – based on estimates from energy consultancy firm Cornwall Insight – is not a cap on the overall bills households face.

Regulators put on a limit on the amount people have to pay per kilowatt hour, or unit, of gas and electricity, with the latest figure based on what Ofgem thinks the typical household will use.

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