Energy price freeze risks explained by expert

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Prime Minister Liz Truss’ energy bills freeze will reportedly cover second homeowners and holiday let investors, shielding thousands of Britons from staggering price rises amid an energy crisis.

The energy price guarantee was announced in the House of Commons last week as part of a major energy support package worth hundreds of billions of pounds as the new Government scrambles to protect families across the country from eye-watering fuel price rises.

With the guarantee knocking off £1,000 off the initial price cap floated by industry regulator Ofgem, which would have seen a staggering 80 percent rise in household bills, second home owners may have been concerned as to whether their additional properties would be included in the scheme. 

But the Telegraph reports that the scheme will in fact cover thousands of Britons who fit this category, as well as covering holiday let investors. 

The Government reportedly decided not to exclude second homes from the scheme amid fears it would delay the rollout, getting “minimal benefit” in return. 

While the new price guarantee places a limit on the rates that suppliers can charge customers for energy usage, some households are expected to pay far more or far less than the £2,500 average annual bill.

For holiday lets, they normally see higher utility bills as guests are less concerned about energy usage, with owners having little control over limits. But owners who have stayed on a variable tariff this year could see thousands of pounds slashed off their bills thank Ms Truss’ scheme. 

And according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the new price cap does not put second homeowners at an advantage as their final bill will still be based on the energy usage of the property. 

While this may be the case, owners of additional homes will also reportedly receive the Government’s £400 winter discount, which raised concerns as to whether this jeopardises the level of support that will be given to the most vulnerable households. 

Every home in the UK is set to receive the grant from October, which will be administered over a six-month period, with a discount going to people even for homes that they do not use. 

Now, campaigners are calling for second homeowners to donate their perhaps unnecessary energy rebate. Crowdfunder has set up a #DonateTheRebate campaign to encourage donations from the expected £5.4million in rebates for 13,500 second homes in Cornwall. 

Should the campaign prove successful, the cash collected will then be directed towards charities and organisations helping to support vulnerable Cornish residents. 

Rob Love, CEO and Co-founder of Cornwall-based Crowdfunder, said: “At Crowdfunder we see real people stepping up every day to fill the void and bring all of this together to help each other – our #DonateTheRebate campaign represents a ‘levelling up’ for and by the people.

Meanwhile, former Health Secretary Matt Hancock used an astonishing £4,800 of taxpayer money to fund the energy bill for his additional property. It came as ordinary Britons were experiencing the tough impacts of surging gas prices sparked by Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s supply cuts to Europe, forcing millions to fork out extra cash while energy companies went bust.

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