Downing Street has not ruled out the possibility that energy bills could rise by nearly £1,000 for most customers when the regulator revises the price cap in the autumn.
It comes after the boss of major energy company ScottishPower called on the government to take urgent action to help the poorest households months before costs are expected to climb again for the winter months.
Keith Anderson said energy bills are likely to rise by another £1,000 for millions of homes across the country when the price cap is revised in October.
When asked whether the government recognized this figure and whether it was in the “fringe” of its expectations, the prime minister’s official spokesperson did not rule it out.
“I can’t comment on speculation — it’s clear that … it wouldn’t be right for me to do that,” he told reporters.
“As for Ofgem, I think it’s fair to say we expect further increases later in the year, the Chancellor has spoken about that and made it clear that we will do what we can to help with the utility bills in the fall when we know more about what the prices will be.”
Anderson said: “Given what will happen in October, we believe urgent action is needed to put in place a mechanism to support customers during this time.
“You need about £1,000 to bring bills closer to where they used to be, but closer to where it’s realistic to expect people to be able to pay them.”
He called for ‘targeted’ support for the most vulnerable customers.
“These can be customers with prepayment meters, people with Universal Credit or people who qualify for the warm house discount.
He said the government’s plan to give each household £200 towards their energy bills, an amount to be paid back, will be insufficient.
“Our view is clear that this £200 will not be long enough,” he said.
“This will take time to implement, and it will take time to agree on its exact format… that everything has to be discussed, signed, sealed, delivered, designed and approved by July so it can be done in October.” be implemented.”
He said there are several ways to fund the £1,000.
“For example, it could be added to all household energy bills in the next decade.
Bills for the average household whose rate is linked to the energy price cap rose to £1,971 on April 1, after gas prices had skyrocketed in recent months.
It forced the government to promise a £200 cut on energy bills from October and also cut £150 from council tax for many households.
But many campaigners have warned that this won’t be enough, especially next winter when the price cap moves back up, which is widely expected.
ScottishPower thinks this could go to £2,900 by October 1.
Anderson said it will be a while before the predictions are really correct.
“However, we see no evidence in the form of prices at this point to suggest that this is going to change,” he said.
A government spokesman said: “We recognize the pressure people are facing with the cost of living, so we have put together a £22bn bailout package, which includes rebates and cuts in energy bills.
“We are also urging energy companies to support their customers in managing the impact of high global gas prices.
“We are also supporting vulnerable households through initiatives such as the £500 million Household Support Fund and the Warm Home Discount, where the Energy Price Cap continues to isolate millions of families from high global gas prices.”