'At Dire Risk of Premature Death': 15 Million UK Households Hit by Record-High Rise in Energy Bills

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Britain's energy watchdog plans to decide on the next price cap, which is expected to be considerably higher than the current level, in February before it comes into force in early April.
As of 1 October, at least 15 million households in England, Wales, and Scotland will face higher domestic energy bills under the UK Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)'s latest price cap.
The bills will rise by £139 ($193) from £1,138 ($1,583) to a record high of £1,277 ($1,777) a year, according to the British energy watchdog.
This comes as an Ofgem spokesperson assured that the regulator is doing its best "to make sure consumers, especially people in vulnerable circumstances, do not pay more than is absolutely necessary this winter".

"Higher energy costs are never welcome news to anyone and the timing and size of this increase will be particularly difficult for many families still struggling with the impact of the pandemic. Anyone struggling to pay their energy bills should get in touch with their supplier to access the help that is available", the spokesperson underscored.

The statement followed Ofgem explaining in August that the sharp 12% increase in energy bills, which is expected to affect half the population, was provoked by an over 50% surge in wholesale fuel costs over the last six months, with gas prices hitting a record high as global economies struggle to overcome the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Referring to Ofgem's latest price cap, Adam Scorer, chief executive at the UK fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, was cited by the British media as saying that "the massive devastating increases in energy prices will drive over 500,000 more households into fuel poverty, leaving them unable to heat or power their homes".

"[…] Without a wider package of support – keeping Universal Credit uplifts and more rebates to protect those on the lowest incomes from spiralling energy prices – vulnerable people are still at dire risk of premature death this winter", Scorer argued.

He spoke as a significant increase in wholesale gas prices in the UK has resulted in the collapse of nine suppliers around the country over the past few weeks.
The closure was reportedly caused by the suppliers' failure to deliver on price promises to their customers, and the suppliers being uninsured against the rising costs.
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