13 September 2023

Some families could face higher bills this winter, Ofgem boss says

13 September 2023

The boss of Ofgem has warned that bills could be higher for some households this winter despite a big drop in wholesale energy prices, as he vowed to fully focus on ensuring customers are protected this winter.

Jonathan Brearley said that the lack of Government support this winter when compared to last, means that bills are not going to be lower for many struggling families than they were.

“When I look across the market this winter and I think about how does that play out for us this winter, I should start by saying we have a full focus on making sure customers are protected this winter,” Mr Brearley told MPs on the Energy Security and Net Zero Committee.

“There is some positive news.

“The market is more stable, it is less volatile and prices are lower than this time last year.

“This time last year, we were anticipating and seeing prices at around £4,200 a year without Government support. And last year, Government did step in to give tens of billions of pounds of support to customers.

“But there is a reality for customers this year: That support is not available.

“So for many people, their bills will be very similar this year and possibly worse for some than they were last year.”

Last winter the median household in the UK paid an annualised energy bill of around £2,100 after taking off thousands of pounds of Government support.

Without that support bills would have been around twice as high.

This year from October 1 until the end of December, annualised energy bills for an average household will be £1,923.

But due to an increase in the standing charge between last winter and this, households who use less electricity are actually likely to see their bills higher than they were the winter before.

Asked what the price cap might be in January when it changes next, Mr Brearley said: “As ever it is always really uncertain … If I had a view we have to accept there is pressure on prices at the moment, so it is possible that we see a rise in January, but by no means certain.”

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