The head of Ofgem, the United Kingdom’s energy regulator, said on Tuesday that annual bills for millions of households would likely rise by about another £800 ($1,000) to £2,800 ($3,494) later this year.
The new rises would kick in starting October when Ofgem next adjusts its price cap, which is the maximum suppliers can charge customers per unit of energy. In April, the regulator raised the cap by a whopping 54% — the biggest increase since it began capping prices five years ago.
“We are expecting a price cap in October in the region of £2,800,” Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s chief executive, told a parliamentary committee.
Brearley said that the regulator had yet to complete its review of prices, and the cap could still change, but he acknowledged that it was a “very distressing time for customers.”
“This news will be utterly devastating for the 6.1 million homes currently in fuel poverty — and for the additional 1.7 million households who will spend this winter struggling to keep themselves warm,” Simon Francis, coordinator for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, a campaign group, told CNN Business.
“Unless the government acts now, it will have blood on its hands this winter,” he added.
But the decision rests with the country’s finance minster, Rishi Sunak — and he may finally be listening to campaigners.