Government intervention to cut £1,000 off Britain’s soon-to-rocket home fuel bills is needed, the CEO of Scottish Power urged today.
Keith Anderson toured broadcast studios this morning, calling for Whitehall and regulatory backing to have the sum to be taken off bills due to rise this autumn, and re-paid over 10 years as an interest-free loan.
Up to £40 per year thus added to pay back bills would still be better than dual fuel tariffs soaring to £2,900 a year, he said.
Anderson spoke, on the day the Food Foundation revealed one in seven Brits in the past two months had chosen to skip eating for at least a day, as the impending cost of living crisis bites deeper.
The SP boss predicted that October’s lifting of the retail price cap may already be under-rated.
In January 2021, average home fuel costs were £1,000 a year. Without further intervention now by government, Ofgem’s likely raise would push bills up nearly threefold in less than two years.
Getting the government to help cut bills by £1,000 from October would assist customers most, “directly cutting the cost of energy”, Anderson told Radio 4’s ‘Today’ this morning.
Johnson openly lied to the nation late last summer, stating that the energy crisis was a ‘temporary problem’. The prime minister had recently opened the new London offices of Bulb; the supplier collapsed months later into government-directed administration.
Questioned today on BBC Radio, Anderson said Scottish Power lost £260 million last year on its selling of gas and electricity.
The company runs a £5 million hardship fund, its CEO added, plus a phone support line for customers in fuel debt, the SP boss said.
“This rise by over £1,000 ( in home bills) is way beyond what I as a company, way beyond what the industry can deal with”, said Anderson.
“That’s why we think it has to be a government- and regulatory-backed scheme, so that we can take £1,000 off a bill, and for repayment to take place over a 10 year period”.
Ten million people face spending more than 10 % of household income in fuel from this winter, Anderson added.
Fears are rising that Ofgem may set the October price cap too low. Recent sharp falls in wholesale prices mask the fact that many suppliers will be retailing power later this year, generated from gas at recent record prices.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s intervention last month offers hard-up homes only a mandatory £200 loan, supported by council tax rebates. His loan is to be repaid after five years.
This morning the Food Foundation reported that in April 7.3 million Britons – including 2.6 million children – had gone without food in the past month, due to rising prices. That total compared with 4.7 million adults in January.