Britons warned of damaging impact of rising inflation

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The energy regulator Ofgem has announced a rise in the energy price cap, which limits how much a provider can charge an average customer, to £2,800 a year instead of the current £1,971 over volatility in energy prices. In yet another blow to Britons’ purchasing power amid the cost-of-living crisis, the new increase planned in October will mean the number of people who fall into fuel poverty may double to 12 million.

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley described energy price rises as a “once in a generation event not seen since the oil crisis in the 1970s.”

LBC’s Radio host Andrew Marr confronted Mr Brearley, saying: “There are many people up and down the country who simply can’t pay it.

“Can I ask about the timing of the announcement?

“Some people say the fact that you’re announcing it now suggests the Treasury is already planning a response within days or weeks.”

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley squirmed: “Well, look, I mean, this is a huge rise.”

“I need to be clear that Ofgem will do absolutely everything it can to protect the customers, particularly the most vulnerable”, Mr Brearley said. 

“We will also be working with the industry, making sure the industry do what they can to protect customers.

“But really the only organisation that can tackle this on behalf of customers is government.

“Now, I understand that ministers are considering options.

“They do stand ready to act.

“But really that’s a matter for them and not the regulator.”

Mr Marr then asked: “From your perspective, what’s going to be the impact on customers?”

Mr Brearley answered: “So, if you saw this rise without any measures to tackle it, you would see a big uplift in fuel poverty.

“As I said Andrew, I do genuinely talk to a number of different customers.

“I’ve talked to customers who have for example disabled children who rely not on the average energy use but much much more than that average.

“I know how much pressure people are already under.

“This pressure will get higher, and those circumstances will get worse unless the government acts.”

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has come under fire for not doing enough to tackle the energy crisis. In April, Mr Sunak announced £150 Council tax rebates and plans to offer a £200 discount on bills in response to the increase in the energy price cap. It then increased by 54 percent from about £1270 to £1970.

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