A growing number of charities are joining a campaign to postpone a planned increase in the energy price guarantee (EPG), which they say will plunge millions more people into fuel poverty.
Martin Lewis, founder of the MoneySavingExpert website, urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to keep the state-subsidised unit cost at a level where a British household with typical energy use will pay about £2,500 a year, on average, rather than increasing the EPG to £3,000 from 1 April.
In a letter dated 9 February, Lewis said that postponing the increase would be “a practical and fair decision, with household energy bills already double what they were the prior winter”.
Without intervention, the letter continues, “the charity National Energy Action predicts that the number of fuel-poor households will rise drastically from an already shocking 6.7 million to 8.4 million from April – approaching double the 4.5 million households in this position in October 2021.”
In the letter, Lewis named Citizens Advice, Fair By Design, National Energy Action and StepChange as charities that backed a postponement.
Since then, additional voluntary organisations have publicly supported his call, including Age UK, Mencap, Well Child, Stroke Association, Epilepsy Action and RNIB.
In a tweet on Wednesday, RNIB said: “We’re joining Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert in urging the chancellor to postpone his planned Energy Price Guarantee hike in April, to avoid plunging millions more into fuel poverty.”
Lewis said the decision to increase the EPG, which was announced during Hunt’s autumn statement in November, was made at a time when wholesale energy rates were projected to be higher than they currently are.
He said the lower-than-forecast rates meant the EPG subsidy could be phased out after July, saving the government billions.
The Chancellor said last Friday that the government lacked the “headroom” to maintain the EPG at £2,500.