With almost 8 in 10 people worried about rising energy costs and the suppliers being hauled in front of the Select Committee to justify price hikes, Which? is on the Chancellor to stand up for consumers when he stands up in the House of Commons to deliver this year's Autumn Statement on the 4th December.
Which? believes that the Chancellor can make a real difference. They're calling on George Osborne to:
Cut the Big Six down to size to get more competition into the energy market by:
• Committing to separating energy generation from supply: wholesale costs are the biggest part of the eye-watering rises to energy bills that people have faced over the last ten years. The wholesale market must be made more competitive to help keep prices in check.
• Ending the blank cheque for suppliers' delivery of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO): suppliers must be held to account for their costs, as we estimate nearly £200m a year could be saved if they delivered more efficiently.
The Government has said it is reviewing how green and social policies could be 'rolled back' ahead of the Autumn statement.
So we are also calling on the Chancellor to cut the cost of Government energy policies that we can't afford and control the costs being added to consumers' bills, while helping the same number of households as last year to make their homes better insulated.
Cut the cost of Government energy policies by:
• Re-targeting the Energy Company Obligation (ECO): too much is focussed on expensive measures. If the Carbon Savings Obligation prioritised low cost measures instead, it could save between £242m-£363m a year, help at least the same number of households and still meet its carbon targets.
• Scrapping the carbon floor price: it is an unnecessary burden on consumers that does nothing to incentivise low carbon energy production and increases wholesale costs. This would take in the region of £1 billion off bills next year.
• Halting the smart meter roll out: it is a £12bn luxury we cannot currently afford. We should pause for two years, put a cap on the costs and decide how to make the roll out as cost effective as possible. This would save almost £80m a year for two years.
• Taking the Warm Home Discount off consumers' bills: this could cut bills by over £290m a year.
These measures could potentially save consumers up to £1.8 billion per year.
Last week 4 in 10 people told us they can't reduce energy use any further as they have already cut down as much as they can. In addition 3 in 10 say they don't know how they will heat their homes this winter.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said:
"Consumers have been left reeling by the recent round of inflation busting price hikes. People need help to cope with the rising cost of their energy bills – and they need it now.
"When George Osborne stands up to deliver his Autumn Statement we want him to stand up for the millions of hard-pressed consumers who are grappling day-to-day with rising energy costs. He must cut the Big Six companies and the cost of Government energy policies down to size."