A glimmer of hope as the government has finally begun setting out plans for tackling the energy price crisis, including the announcement that consumer energy bills for mains gas and electricity customers in England, Wales and Scotland will be frozen at a ‘typical’ £2,500 annual cost for the next two years.
Previously, this coming October would have seen an approximate 80% rise in prices for non-commercial customers. This new deal suggests about a 27% rise — bills rising by around a quarter — but frozen so the three monthly Ofgem reviews which had threatened even more rises in January will presumably be halted for now.
The £400 universal help, plus other benefits paid to older and more vulnerable customers, is set to continue.
Of course, this doesn’t yet provide absolute certainty for customers, and given how long it takes some energy companies to get the details sorted out, we’re concerned there will still be a lot of worry in the coming three weeks.
The irony of a ‘typical’ household is that very few, if any, dwellings actually fall into that category. We need actual details of the unit pricing which will be applied to our accounts come October, so we can budget, decide how much we need to cut back, and so on.
The initial October rise would have seen gas unit prices jump from around 7.5p to 15p, almost doubling (and proving that simply specifying a cap percentage rise is meaningless when you are trying to assess the cost of two fuels with differing rate changes). Every household will have their own lifestyle, split of gas and electricity usage, and so on. We do not want to be waiting until October 1st to find out what our financial fate is.
Given that the government and utility companies have just one job at present where this is concerned, let’s hope they really get a move on. As far as I’m concerned, any tariff change announcements post mid-September will be classed as a failure, a dereliction of duty.
Thanks to everyone concerned dawdling for months on this issue, the need for speedy action is now.