Poorest households hit hardest by energy bill rip-off

The poorest 10 per cent of households have seen their energy bills rise nearly twice as fast as other households.

The poorest 10 per cent of households have seen their energy bills rise nearly twice as fast as other households

The poorest households have been hit the hardest by the rise in energy bills since 2010, according to analysis from the House of Commons library.

The average household’s annual energy bill is now £260 higher compared to 2010, according to the analysis by Labour based on figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Electricity and gas bills for the poorest households have risen by 40 per cent and 53 per cent in cash terms between 2010 and 2013.

Labour is today holding an Opposition Day today on a motion requiring the government to introduce fast-track legislation giving Ofgem the powers to cut bills when wholesale prices fall but the energy firms do not cut bills for customers.

Ofgem estimates that the supply margins of the Big Six have doubled in the last twelve months, increasing from 4 per cent (£49) in 2013 to 8 per cent (£105) today.

Ofgem recently referred the energy companies to the Competition and Markets Authority, stating: “We found that suppliers do not adjust their prices as quickly when costs fall compared to when wholesale costs rise… This asymmetry has become more pronounced than when Ofgem performed a similar exercise in 2011.

Speaking ahead of today’s debate, shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change Caroline Flint said:

“Millions have been ripped off by the big energy firms who never seem to pass on savings to customers, but these figures show that the poorest households are paying the heaviest price for the Tories’ failure to stand up to the energy companies and ensure that the full savings from wholesale cost falls are passed on to all consumers.

“The next Labour government is committed to making big changes in our energy market: freezing energy prices until 2017 so that bills can fall but not rise, resetting the market and bringing in a tough new regulator to stop the rip-offs in the future. But consumers need action on energy bills now. This can begin today with a vote in the House of Commons on fast-track legislation.”

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7 Responses to “Poorest households hit hardest by energy bill rip-off”

  1. sarntcrip

    no poll today? orobably good idea as milliband and bals backed gideon charter behaving like libdems

  2. Rita Taylor

    Stop paying huge subsidies to landowners and big companies for onshore wind farms which are unreliable and uneconomical and VERY expensive

  3. Brian Taylor

    Renewables are the equevilent of Robbing the Poor to pay the rich, and who put through the most expensive piece bill ever put through Parliament Ed Miliband and all our useless MPs voted for it. I can name only one who voted against it and that was Peter Lilley there may have been others!?.

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    You’re confusing the cack-handed way we handle it with the ways we should be doing it.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    A good part of this is pre-pay meters.

    Time to ban special tarrifs for them, and for people on them to be on standard tariffs, with a surcharge based purely on actual costs for the meters. Which, I note, would be near-zero with “smart” meters.

  6. littleoddsandpieces

    More poverty is to come with the Flat Rate Pension now proven to be a complete con, with people now getting forecasts as low as £55 per week, far below even the current basic let alone full state pension.
    This affects 2 million workers in their late 50s and early 60s today,
    the women born from 1953 and men born from 1951.


    I have cut my energy bills substantially by not turning on the central heating since 2011, which is both gas and electric to run the boiler.

    I have purely on demand hot water, with no reservoir constantly being heated up.

    And not having a bath, only showers, and doing the ancient way of life of only having a shower once a week.

    Washing machine once a fortnight. No dishwasher.

    Smart meters are nowhere near according to British Gas.

    The poorest are lumbered with pre-payment meters, the most expensive way to pay energy bills.

    With 1 million benefit sanctions there is no cash to put in the meter,
    so cannot heat and cannot cook food. Especially hard with babies, children, disabled, chronic sick and grannies in house.

    In Europe, there are free cafes providing (without any referrals needs) hot cooked meals and hot drinks each and every day, that is, yes, 7 days a week to the working poor, unemployed and poor pensioners (in UK this is 2.6 million pensioners far, far below the breadline).

  7. Philip Leicester

    Rubbish Rita. The subsidies are creating a viable industry and jobs, increasing our energy security and decreasing reliance on fossil fuel imports. As grid parity approaches there will be no looking back 🙂

    Fuel poverty is due to high cost of oil, low incomes and a shit housing stock which successive governments have failed to address except largely for social housing through CESP and CERTS.

    The worst off are the tenants of the scrounging private landlords who have scooped up the council houses and do not maintain and improve their energy efficiency because they put their profits first.

    That said subsidies should be paid for using Exchequer funding, not through the fuel bill, though the total green levy on the fuel bill will be on average compensated by energy efficiency measures by 2020. This will only help the fuel poor if there is better targetting and a compulsion on private landlords to meet energy efficiency targets.

    For the costs of energy per megawatt hour (MW/h) of electricity generated:
    onshore wind €105 per MW/h, compared to gas and coal
    Gas €164
    Coal €233
    Nuclear power, offshore wind and solar energy €125


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