Energy UK is calling on the government to extend financial assistance to the most vulnerable, as nearly six million households grapple with fuel poverty.
The withdrawal of government funding and an energy price cap of around £2,000 pose challenges for many, especially the most vulnerable, according to the trade association.
With winter approaching, Energy UK highlights the urgency to reinstate support mechanisms.
The Energy Bill Support Scheme and Energy Price Guarantee, which kept prices aligned with last year’s average annual bill, are “crucial” for averting a mounting debt crisis among specific customer groups.
Despite last winter’s considerable financial support, Energy UK emphasizes the need for more targeted measures.
The proposed measures include a Targeted Energy Price Guarantee for 5.8 million vulnerable households, the development of a social tariff framework for long term support and accelerated action on energy efficiency initiatives.
To ensure effective and targeted support, Energy UK recommends utilising means-tested benefits data for a refined Energy Price Guarantee or Warm Home Discount.
This targeted approach, reaching around 5.8 million people, is anticipated to be more cost-effective while providing meaningful assistance.
The suggested financial support, equivalent to the £400 received last winter, would cost approximately £2.3 billion, a fraction of the previous universal support costs but a crucial aid for millions.
Energy UK urges the initiation of this support from October 2023 until March 2024 or, at the very least, backdated from January 2024, offering a discount scheme over six months but disbursed across three months.