Cost of living: Expert offers advice on increased bills
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High-profile peers are expected to put forward a series of potential amendments to the bill which is set to enter its committee stage. If given the green light, the changes to the legislation could slash costs for families, which otherwise will be forced to fork out extra cash due to Britain’s exposure to volatile gas markets.
Other measures campaigners say are needed include boosting the UK’s renewable energy capacity.
This comes as surging global gas prices sparked by Russian gas cuts and Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine have had a huge knock-on impact on British billpayers, despite the UK only getting four percent of its gas from Russia last year.
Due to this, the campaign group is urging peers to help reduce the UK’s addiction to costly gas.
Campaigners also want the amendments to the bill to include the provision of financial assistance to the least-well off, many of whom will have to choose between heating and eating over a tough winter.
But there are some key measures which may get blocked, according to reports.
The Warm This Winter campaign is urging peers involved in the committee stage scrutiny of the bill to “do everything to help”.
The campaigners have also written a letter to every MP and have provided a briefing document laying out all the suggested measures.
Simon Francis, who represents the End Fuel Poverty Coalition (part of the Warm This Winter campaign) said: “This summer, MPs will have seen first-hand the anxiety and desperation their constituents are experiencing and will be wanting to do everything they can to help.
“That means more emergency money for people this winter, funding to help everyone cut their bills with better insulation, and a rapid move away from expensive gas and on to cheaper, renewable energy.
“We urge MPs to back these calls for genuine solutions to help people this winter and in future, and to ignore the special pleading of the oil and gas industry.
“The seriousness of this crisis demands that they back measures that will tangibly make a difference to people’s lives.”
But Liz Truss, who Conservative leadership election on Monday and is replacing Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, believes more oil and gas could in fact be the answer to the energy crisis.
With plans to issue 130 new licenses for oil and gas drilling in the North Sea, as well as a desire to lift the ban on fracking, Ms Truss believes this is the way to drive down gas prices.
However, critics say that new gas and oil could take years to come on the market, and once it does could be sold internationally, potentially baring little impact on prices at home.
Experts have also pointed out that there may only be enough shale gas (which is extracted in the fracking process) to serve just five percent of the UK’s gas needs, which are rather urgent as the £3,549 October price is just around the corner.
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And at a time when the climate crisis is appearing more and more urgent, which a third of Pakistan under water and scorching summer temperatures across Europe causing devastating droughts, many deem it crucial that fossil fuels remain in the ground.
Ms Truss has also pledged to impose a temporary moratorium on the green levy, which is used to fund energy efficiency schemes and green technologies.
This would then appear at odds with the proposed amendments the campaigners are urging the peers to make.
A government spokesperson said: “We know people are incredibly worried about rising energy bills, which is why one in four of all UK households will see £1,200 extra support, provide in instalments across the year, and most people will receive a £400 discount on their energy bills over winter.
“We’re also investing £6.6 billion in total this parliament to improve energy efficiency across the country, benefiting tens of thousands of homes and delivering average savings of £300 a year on energy bills.”
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