MPs have been told that around 12 million households are spending more than 10% of their income on energy bills.
Emma Pinchbeck, the chief executive of Energy UK told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) that customers are calling their energy providers and are asking for additional support.
She said that energy bills are “double” what they were 18 months ago, and the energy crisis is a far larger problem.
Pinchbeck said, “That indicates we’ve got many more houses moving into what has been considered vulnerability previously at pace, and or households who are not indicating to us that they’re vulnerable.
“I think from the suppliers there’s an acceptance that more needs to be done in the vulnerability space, and we’re working actively with the consumer groups and government to do that, but I would say that this is a much bigger problem than just prepayment meters or vulnerable customers.”
She added, “Bills are still double what they were 18 months ago and we’ve got about 12 million households, which is about 40% of customers, spending more than 10% on energy. That’s the previous definition of fuel poverty.
“We need to look at targeted support, but we also need to look at this as an affordability crisis across the piece and how that intersects with the wider cost of living.
“We’re up for having those conversations but I don’t think that it is as simple as just looking at the Priority Services Register. I think this is still a really big problem.”
She continued, “Were also calling, like the consumer groups, for some kind of targeted support in addition to that, so we’re very up for conversations about things like social tariffs.
“And we’ve written to the Chancellor to call for the long-term picture on bills to be sorted by investing in green infrastructure but also in energy efficiency and doing some things on VAT to make things easier.
“We’re doing lots behind the scenes and as much as we think that we can given the debt burden on the sector to try and help our customers without saying at all that if rules are being broken then that’s excusable.”