Britain’s energy regulator announced Friday it will raise its main cap on consumer energy bills to an average £3,549 pounds from £1,971 a year, as campaign groups, think tanks and politicians call on the government to tackle a cost-of-living crisis.
The price cap limits the standard charge energy suppliers can bill domestic customers for their combined electricity and gas bill in England, Scotland and Wales, but is recalculated by OFGEM throughout the year to reflect wholesale market prices and other industry costs.
It covers around 24 million households. the 4.5 million households on prepayment plans face an increase from £2,017 to £3,608.
The cap does not apply in Northern Ireland, where suppliers can increase prices at any point after getting approval from a different regulator.
Gas prices have soared to record levels over the last year as higher global demand has been intensified in Europe by low gas storage levels and a drop in pipeline imports from Russia
The latest price cap — the maximum amount that gas suppliers can charge customers per unit of energy — will take effect Oct. 1, just as the cold months set in. And bills are expected to rise again in January to 4,000 pounds.
Jennifer Jones keeps feeding money into her energy meter, but it never seems to be enough. And when she can’t pay, she feels the impact immediately.
The power in her London home has gone off suddenly three times recently, once when her partner was cooking an egg.
Like millions of people, Jones, 54, is struggling to cope as energy and food prices skyrocket during Britain’s worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation. The former school supervisor has health problems and relies on government benefits to get by, but her welfare payments are nowhere near enough to cover her sharply rising bills.