Consumer groups hail energy price freeze but warn ‘still sky-high bills’

Consumer groups have hailed the plan to freeze energy prices as a “huge relief” but warned many would still be grappling with “sky-high” bills this winter.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Today’s announcement applies the brakes before October’s staggering price increases become a reality and will bring tremendous relief to millions of households.

“But energy bills are still sky high. A freeze may not be enough to reverse the devastating trend of people coming to us because they are running out of food or unable to refill their gas and electricity. The government must be ready to provide more support to the people at the extreme end of this crisis.

(PA graphic) (PA graphic)

“Crucially we also need the details of how this will be paid for. We don’t want costs added to customer invoices later on.”

She added: “And Ofgem needs to get energy companies to play their part. No one should be hounded for a debt they can’t pay, or force people onto a prepaid meter this winter.”

Citizens Advice said it helps more than two people access crisis support like food banks and charity grants every minute.

More than 137,000 people were referred for this type of assistance – a 50% increase over the same period last year and a 167% increase over the same period in 2019.

So far this year, the charity has assisted more than 50,000 people with energy debt, a 22% increase over the same period last year.

Even with that help, it’s likely some consumers will still struggle to afford higher energy bills this winter, and the government may need to provide additional support for those on low incomes

The? described the price freeze as a “bold intervention”.

Rocio Concha, which ones? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said: “This is a bold intervention that will bring huge relief to many people and prevent millions of households from being left out in the rain.

“However, despite this help, it is likely that some consumers will still struggle to afford higher energy bills this winter and the government may need to provide additional support for those on low incomes.

“As part of its plans to shake up the energy market, the government must commit to reforming retail energy pricing to make it work in the long term. These reforms should include protections for low-income earners and consider how to make subscriptions and tariffs fairer for prepaid customers.

“The Government must also do everything it can to push the roll-out of energy efficiency measures such as home insulation and ensure that a temporary suspension of environmental levies does not delay the UK’s transition away from fossil fuels.”

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https://www.newschainonline.com/news/financial-news/consumer-groups-welcome-energy-price-freeze-but-warn-bills-still-sky-high-291203 Consumer groups hail energy price freeze but warn ‘still sky-high bills’

Mike Fahey

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