UK household energy bills to rise despite price cap to fall in April

For an average household, the quarterly energy price cap in the United Kingdom (UK) will fall to 3,280 pounds (3,949 U.S. dollars) per year from April to June, the country’s energy regulator said on Monday.

Falling from the current 4,279 pounds per year, the drop reflects recent falls in wholesale energy prices, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) said in a statement. The cap, reviewed quarterly by the Ofgem, sets the maximum price that suppliers can charge per unit of energy.

However, households in the UK are still expected to pay more for their energy consumption after April due to a cut in government support.

With the government help known as the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) capping the energy bill at 2,500 pounds per year, and a 400-pound discount, a typical family’s energy bill is about 2,100 pounds per year at present.

But from April 1, the discount scheme will end and the government has set the EPG at 3,000 pounds for the typical bill.

“Although wholesale prices have fallen, the price cap has not yet fallen below the planned level of the Energy Price Guarantee. This means, that on current policy, bills will rise again in April. I know that for many households this news will be deeply concerning,” said Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem chief executive officer, in the statement.

Raising the EPG from 2,500 to 3,000 pounds will save the UK government 2.5 billion pounds, but this will come at a cost to households, said energy consultancy Cornwall Insights.

Ofgem has urged struggling Britons to contact their suppliers to make sure they are getting all the help and support they are entitled to.

“We also think that, with bills continuing to be so high, there is a case for examining with urgency the feasibility of a social tariff for customers in the most vulnerable situations,” Brearley said. (1 British pound = 1.20 U.S. dollar) ■


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