The number of customers falling into debt on their energy bills has increased by 36% since the beginning of this year, according to EDF Energy.
(Bloomberg) — The number of customers falling into debt on their energy bills has increased by 36% since the beginning of this year, according to EDF Energy.
The company plans to roll back standing charges — fixed costs added on top of bills to cover being connected to the grid — for vulnerable customers this winter to help reduce the strain. Daily charges for direct debit customers have increased by 107% for electricity and 8.2% for gas since April 2021, EDF said.
“The current system means those with smaller homes, who use less power, pay proportionately more. That is not right,” said Philippe Commaret, managing director for customers at the utility. “And that’s why we’ve decided to roll back standing charges for at least 260,000 customers to their pre-crisis levels this winter.”
The UK’s price cap, designed to limit the amount suppliers can charge, will rise on Oct. 1. It will mean one in three households pay higher bills, putting pressure on the government to do more to help offset the cost-of-living pressure. Reducing standing charges or moving them to general taxation is one option suggested by EDF. There have been calls from lawmakers and energy suppliers for a social tariff to be introduced to lower bills for vulnerable customers.
The Net Zero select committee, that holds the government to account has asked the regulator to review its approach to standing charges.
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