A new Which? campaign is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to cut energy bills down to size.
It comes after four of the so-called ‘big six’ energy firms announced price rises of between 8% and 10% this autumn.
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Worry over saving energy
Our research shows almost eight in 10 people are worried about energy prices – with three in 10 saying they don’t know how they will afford to heat their homes this winter.
And four in 10 people say they can’t guard against rising costs by reducing the energy they use because they have already cut down.
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Cutting down energy bills
We want Mr Osborne to stand up for consumers when he stands up in the House of Commons on 4 December to deliver this year’s Autumn Statement.
We have written the Chancellor an open letter, calling for him to cut the big six energy firms and the cost of government energy policies down to size by:
- Committing to separating energy generation from supply. This would make wholesale costs – the biggest part of the eye-watering rises to energy bills over the last 10 years – more transparent.
- Making suppliers’ delivery of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), which helps vulnerable and low-income homes with energy-saving measures, more efficient. We estimate nearly £200 million a year could be saved in this way. We also want it targeted towards less expensive measures – this could save between £242m and £363m a year.
- Scrapping the carbon floor price, which is a tax on energy firms. It does nothing to incentivise low-carbon energy production and increases wholesale costs. This would save about £1 billion off bills next year.
- Halting the £12bn roll-out of smart meters, which measure your exact gas and electricity use and send the information back to your energy supplier. This is a luxury we cannot afford: we should pause for two years to decide how to make it more cost effective. This would save almost £80m a year for two years.
- Taking the costs of the Warm Home Discount, a £135 payment to those struggling to pay their energy bills, off consumers’ bills. This could cut bills by over £290m a year.
These measures could collectively save consumers up to £1.8bn per year.
Find out more about the cost of gas and electricity with our guide to energy prices.
Help needed with energy bills
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Consumers have been left reeling by the recent round of inflation-busting price hikes.
‘People need help to cope with the rising cost of their energy bills – and they need it now.
‘When George Osborne stands up to deliver his Autumn Statement we want him to stand up for the millions of hard-pressed consumers who are grappling day-to-day with rising energy costs. He must cut the big six companies and the cost of government energy policies down to size.’
Our research: Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed a representative sample of 2,018 adults online between 18 and 20 October 2013.
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