West of Englanders face a painful hike to their energy bills in April due to a planned cut in government support.
Watchdog Ofgem has reduced the price cap to £3,280 per year for households from April to July – an almost £1,000 drop from the current £4,279 per year level.
But locals still face a £900 bump up in their bills with the Chancellor increasing the Energy Price Guarantee threshold from £2,500 a year to £3,000. With the price cap still above the subsidy rate, customers will have little choice but to take on the £500 per year hit, alongside the £400 loss of the energy rebate scheme coming to an end in April.
This is an effective £900 spike in the average household energy bill – raising the prospect of a sharp fuel poverty rise in the city as residents struggle to cover their costs.
With the price cap expected to fall to about £2,100 from July, Metro Mayor Dan Norris has urged the Chancellor to keep current support in place until then, so people do not face three months of hardship. In the meantime, he is doing all he can to offer support to residents including investing in emergency support to keep vital energy advice services running as well as bringing forward another £5 million package to get on with retrofitting across the region.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “The Tories’ plan to hike energy bills in April will come as a hammer blow to families already struggling to make ends meet in the face of soaring food shop bills, mortgages and taxes. The Government must cancel April’s energy hike paid for by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas giants rolling in extra cash. With the cost of wholesale gas plummeting, the Chancellor has no excuse for not intervening. Under my leadership, the West of England Combined Mayoral Authority is doing all it can to cut energy bills for people in the long term, including by making our homes and businesses more energy efficient – but in the here and now, it is the duty of ministers to step up and step in.”