Customers will be warned of bill increases from the start of April as energy firms begin writing to inform them of the new rates. According to Citizens Advice as reported by the BBC, firms have to give customers reasonable notice of price rises or changes that will leave them worse off.
Following this week’s Energy Price Guarantee announcement by Ofgem, the average household’s annual energy costs are expected to increase to £3,000 starting next month. According to the BBC, the government is reportedly reviewing the amount of energy support it provides to households amid warnings that many more may struggle.
The government is currently limiting the typical household bill to £2,500 a year, plus a £400 winter discount, which will also end from April. But from April 1, the aid will be scaled back, resulting in higher energy bills.
Energy UK, which represents suppliers, said firms would be writing to customers to let them know how much their bills were going up within the next few days. Those who have difficulties paying should contact their supplier. However, there “is a limit to what the energy industry can do”, it added.
In response to the Ofgem’s announcement, Energy UK’s chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck said the rise is £500 higher than it is now – which combined with the end of the separate monthly rebate payments, which will mean most people’s bills will rise significantly.
She said: “Falling wholesale costs means the EPG has cost the Government a lot less than had been anticipated so we, alongside many charities and consumer groups, are urging them to use this surplus to hold the EPG at £2,500 - and to announce that quickly so it can be incorporated in customer bills in time for April.
“That the Ofgem cap has decreased so much does give some cause for optimism that if the pattern continues, bills will fall later this year and we will begin to see cheaper, fixed deals back in a functioning, competitive market.
“In the meantime energy suppliers continue to provide a range of extra support for their customers, including contributing millions of pounds to additional funds, and hiring and training staff to identify and provide extra care for vulnerable customers.”
According to the BBC, fuel poverty campaigners believe the April increase will increase the number of households struggling to pay their bills from 6.7 million to 8.4 million. People who cannot afford to heat their homes adequately, which stands at 3.2 million, may increase as well.