The regulator must step in and protect people from fuel poverty

Imagine worrying every day about whether you can afford to boil the kettle, make dinner for your children, or cool your home during a dangerous heatwave.

That’s the reality in 2022 for many families across the UK, one of the richest countries in the world, as Ministers and regulators fail to address the cost of living crisis.

Elderly people are overheating in the summer and freezing in the winter because they can no longer afford to run fans or heaters. Parents are forced to choose between eating and heating.

The energy price cap, which was meant to protect customers from profiteering by energy companies, rose by a shocking 54 percent in April, and it’s predicted to rise again by a further 64 percent in October. This will take an average family’s bill to £3,225 a year, an increase of £2,000 in less than 12 months.

How are those already at the margins expected to find that sort of money? The most vulnerable people in the UK – elderly people, children in low-income households, sick and disabled people – are going to be the hardest hit.

If the energy price cap rise goes ahead as planned in October, it could take the number of households with children in fuel poverty to over 2.5 million, double the number in 2019.

We won’t just stand by.

We’ve written to Ofgem, the body which regulates gas and electricity companies’ behaviour, demanding to see their assessments of the impact these price hikes will have on the most vulnerable in our society.

Without this, we believe Ofgem is at serious risk of breaching its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act 2010.

You can read our letter in full here.

Time is running out to help families.

We’ve asked for a response by Monday 18 July. We will of course publish their reply.

We are committed to using the law to help support people through the cost of living crisis. We are currently looking at what else we can do to help and will share more when we have it.


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