The Government has announced a £15bn package of measures to support households, after Ofgem chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, told MPs that energy bills were set to rise by a staggering £800 in October. With average energy bills soaring to around £2,800 a year, Ofgem warned some 12 million homes would fall into fuel poverty without meaningful intervention.
The Government has announced that the contentious plan to give people a repayable £200 discount off energy bills in October has been scrapped. This has been replaced by a £400 grant that will not have to be paid back.
Additional help for vulnerable households will see the introduction of:
- A one-off £650 cost of living payment for 8 million of the lowest income households. This will be paid in two lump sums in July and the autumn.
- A one-off £300 pensioner cost of living payment for 8 million households in receipt of the winter fuel payment. This will be paid in the autumn.
- A one-off £150 disability cost of living payment for the six million people in receipt of non-means tested disability benefits. This will be paid from September.
The new measures will see a third of households in the UK and Northern Ireland supported. Up to £5bn will be funded by a windfall tax on the profits of gas and oil firms. A temporary Energy Profits Levy will tax oil and gas businesses at a rate of 25%. A new investment allowance offers 90% tax relief for businesses reinvesting profits. Likewise, electricity generators will face reforms and possibly a similar Levy on profits.
Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said, “There is no doubt this is a dire situation. We welcome the targeted nature of the support to help the most vulnerable households and the scrapping of the controversial £200 loan for energy bills. However, the number of fuel poor has doubled since April, going hand in hand with water poverty rates. Even with these new measures, soaring inflation and cost of living crisis will still see millions more households fall into fuel and water poverty this year.
“The CIPHE cannot emphasise more the vital role installers play in helping their customers get the best efficiencies out of their heating and plumbing systems. From ensuring boiler settings aid efficient use, to upgrading controls, or fixing dripping taps, saving water and energy is all in a day’s work. Never assume that clients are aware how their systems work, or the importance of energy saving devices such as Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) and controls. A five minute chat about saving energy and water efficiency could help save hundreds on bills.”
You can find energy and water saving tips for your clients on the CIPHE website at www.ciphe.org.uk/utility-bills