Good Law Project believes that if Ofgem goes ahead with current proposals for its upcoming review of the energy price cap, the regulator will be at serious risk of breaching its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act 2010. This is why GLP is writing to demand that Ofgem carries out and publishes a full equality impact assessment before it commits to lifting the cap. Without these important assessments to uncover the real impact of raising the energy price cap, how can Ofgem truly deliver on its objective to “protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people”?
Energy costs are at an all-time high and there is scant hope of them falling any time soon. Only yesterday, Ofgem’s Chief Executive admitted that the regulator’s estimate for winter bills was too low and that UK households can expect to be hit even harder by a price cap rise in autumn. This means that the support package put in place by the Chancellor will be even less likely to protect the most vulnerable households.
Jo Maugham, Director of Good Law Project said:
We live in one of the richest countries in the world – yet people are worrying about whether they can boil the kettle, make dinner for their children or cool their homes in a dangerous heatwave.
The further huge rise in the energy price cap is going to harm many more families – and especially those with extra needs, like the disabled. It’s not clear how much Ofgem has really grappled with any of this. Does it really understand the impact?
Any price cap rise – let alone the 64% hike commentators are predicting in autumn – will be devastating for the most vulnerable households. It’s expected that this rise will take an average family’s bill to £3,244 a year, with another rise anticipated in January.
There’s a mountain of evidence that shows while price hikes are tough to bear for most households it’s the elderly, children, sick, and disabled people who will be hardest hit. The Resolution Foundation has predicted that raising the energy price cap to £2,800 in October 2022 could mean 3 in 10 families across England will be forced to spend at least 10% of their total budget on energy bills alone. It further predicts that the number of households in severe fuel stress – whereby families spend 30% of their budget on energy bills – could rocket from 325,000 households in England last year to 1.9 million in 2022.
UK households are seeing the highest level of inflation since the 1980s and millions are struggling to afford basic living costs. We can’t just sit back while vulnerable people are put at risk of poverty and disadvantage. We need to see concerted action to alleviate fuel poverty and GLP will intervene where the Government and its regulators fail to meet their duties to the public.