Hardship alert

Energy boss warns of ‘horrific’ fuel price rise ahead

Keith Anderson ScottishPower
Keith Anderson: ‘people are going to struggle’ (pic: Terry Murden)

ScottishPower boss Keith Anderson today warned that nearly half the country will be pushed into fuel poverty because of the “truly horrific” surge in the cost of energy due in the autumn.

The Glasgow-based company’s chief executive told MPs that as many as 40% of consumers face hardship unless Chancellor Rishi Sunak takes radical action to limit the impact of rising gas and electricity prices.

Mr Anderson said Scottish Power had received 8,000 calls from customers worried that they would be unable to power their homes. He said he was “hugely concerned for people” facing large bill increases.

“There are so many people who are going to really, really struggle,” he told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee.

His biggest concern was what would happen in October, when the price cap – already up by 54% this month – is set to jump again, taking the average bill close to £3,000 a year.

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“Come October things are going to get horrific, truly horrific,” Mr Anderson told MPs. “I honestly believe the size and scale of this is well beyond what I can deal with, what this industry can deal with. We need a massive shift, a significant shift in the government approach towards this.

“The problem’s got to a size and scale where it requires something significant of that nature where, for those people who are deemed to be in poverty… that puts their bill back to where it used to be before the gas crisis.”

Mr Anderson called for a deficit fund and a “social tariff” – effectively a £1,000 discount for lower income households – which would replace the heavily criticised energy price cap.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State of Climate Change and Net Zero, said: “As energy bills rise by record amounts for millions of families, it is shameful that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are refusing to support the British people facing a cost of living crisis.

“Labour would introduce a package of real support to bring down bills by up to £600, funded by a one-off windfall tax on the oil and gas producers making record profits.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Ian Murray said: “Mr Anderson’s evidence backs up what Scottish Labour have been saying in black and white for months.

“Scottish Power’s evidence today was a damning indictment both the UK and Scottish Government’s record on the cost of living.”

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