Ofgem’s warning: Energy bills set to get worse than last year for some

Jonathan Brearley has cautioned that, without government support, certain consumers should brace themselves for energy bills worsening compared to last year as winter approaches

As winter approaches, Brits are facing a harsh reality regarding their energy bills, with warnings that they could be just as high or even worse than last year.

Ofgem’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Brearley, delivered this sobering message while emphasising the energy industry’s commitment to safeguarding households.

Speaking before MPs, Mr Brearley noted that international energy markets are currently more stable compared to the turbulence of 2022 during the Ukraine war.

However, the boss of Ofgem cautioned that the absence of significant government support this winter is unlikely to provide any relief.

Mr Brearley said: “There is some positive news. The market is more stable, it is less volatile and prices are lower than this time last year.

“So, this time last year, we were anticipating and seeing prices at around £4,200 a year without government support. And last year, the 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.”

“So what that means for me is that Ofgem, government, the industry and consumer groups need to be fully focused on the needs of customers, particularly the most vulnerable.”

During a session at the Commons Energy Security and Net Zero Committee, Jonathan Brearley, head of Ofgem, expressed his awareness of the hardships faced by vulnerable customers in the previous year and predicted similar challenges this year.

To address these issues, Mr Brearly outlined three key areas of focus.

Firstly, he emphasised the need for improved consumer standards, introducing a new framework to drive better and more responsive services.

Additionally, enhanced protections for the most vulnerable, including ensuring full repayment plans and access to information and advice.

Mr Brearley also announced that the prepayment meter code of conduct would be regulated, with stricter criteria to prevent the forcible installation of prepayment meters for households with children under two or residents aged 75 and older.

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