Flintshire Citizens Advice says today’s energy price cap increase “is of great concern” it could mean a choice of “eat or heat” for some
The energy price cap rises today meaning the typical household in Flintshire on a standard variable tariff will see an increase of £139 to their bills.
Flintshire Citizens Advice has said the increase “is of great concern” and it could be a choice of “eat or heat” for some of their clients.
The price cap increase comes at the worst time for a lot of households with the reduction in income due to the removal of the £20 uplift on Universal Credit.
Price increases will affect around 11 million customers on standard tariffs and four million on prepayment meters in Wales, England and Scotland.
Ofgem, the energy regulator, announced in the summer it is raising the level of its standard variable price cap from £1,138 to its highest ever point of £1,277 – £23 more than its previous highest level of £1,254.
The energy price cap is reviewed twice a year based on the latest estimated costs of supplying energy, the next review will be in April next year.
The regulator has also announced that the price cap for prepayment customers will rise to £1,309, which is an increase of 13.2% from its previous level of £1,156.
Households with larger than average energy use will pay more accordingly.
The increases are a response to high wholesale energy prices, which have increased energy suppliers’ costs and prompted Ofgem to allow them to charge customers on standard variable tariffs more for their energy.
Eat or Heat
Flintshire Citizens Advice said the price cap rise “is of great concern to us because of the effect it will have on many of our clients.”
Sian Mather, Money Advice Manager at Citizens Advice Flintshire said: “You’ll see in the news that energy bills are rising and energy companies are going bust.”
“The energy market is in turmoil at the moment. Wholesale prices are soaring and energy firms are removing their cheaper deals. ”
“Few want new customers, meaning that most cheap deals have disappeared off the comparison sites.”
“These changes are going to hit our poorest communities – those on low incomes, sick and disabled and pensioners.’”
“Last year we were able to complete an energy comparison for our clients and save them over hundreds of pounds over the year.”
“The cheapest tariffs available are now 40% more than 12 months ago and if we did a comparison we would be lucky to find a deal that is cheaper than the default standard tariff.”
Sian said the rise in the price cap “comes at the worst time for a lot of households we support as in fact it is a double whammy, an increase in energy bills and reduction in income due to the removal of the £20 uplift on Universal Credit.”
She said “People will be choosing to either “eat or heat”, with their already tight budgets being squeezed to the bare minimum.”
“It also means that we can no longer find these clients cheap energy deals as they have been removed from the market.”
“We will therefore be increasing awareness on how they can cut their energy bills and looking at ways they can make their home energy efficient.”
Sian added: “I would love to say that in six months, things will change but we expect again a big increase in the energy cap in April 2022 and it is expected that more energy companies will go bust with the increase in wholesale prices. It is therefore so important that we get help now to support the poorest of our communities. ”
Winter of Discontent
The UK has also been particularly badly affected by global volatility in wholesale gas prices because of our reliance on gas.
Labour is warning that time is running out to avoid a “winter of discontent” and said decisions by the UK government has led “to our country’s vulnerability and inability to withstand shocks to the market include the Government selling off our gas storage capacity in 2017, and cutting subsidies for solar power.”
Having been warned repeatedly about the huge, looming shortage of HGV drivers, “Ministers failed to act and we have been left with a petrol crisis, shortages on our shelves, and higher food costs.”
Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said: “We are in desperate need of leadership to contain this chaos.
“It is Conservative complacency that has led to the fuel crisis, energy costs crisis, and supply chain crisis our country is experiencing, with Ministers ignoring warnings from businesses and failing to plan ahead.
“And it is Conservative decision-making that is now making it worse. Families tomorrow face a crunch point with their bills rising just as their Universal Credit is taken away.
“Ministers are blaming the public and failing to acknowledge the scale of the problem. We need to make Brexit work, and that starts with addressing the huge shortfall of HGV drivers that is causing mayhem in our supply chains.”
Anyone in Flintshire worried about their energy bills can get in touch with Citizens Advice Flintshire on our free helpline number: 0808 278 7923 or visit flintshirecab.org.uk.
Clients who are highly stressed and anxious about changes in their energy bills, can also call contact us on WhatsApp, or our messenger service at https://flintshirecab.org.
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