‘No indication’ of announcement of measures to combat energy price hikes

·1-min read
Energy minister Greg Hands was unable to say when the Government will reveal its plans to tackle the impending energy cost crisis (PA) (PA Wire)
Energy minister Greg Hands was unable to say when the Government will reveal its plans to tackle the impending energy cost crisis (PA) (PA Wire)

The energy minister said he does not know when the Government will announce its plans to mitigate some of the energy price hikes due to hit households in April.

Greg Hands told MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that discussions are ongoing but there is no timescale in mind.

With regulator Ofgem also consulting with energy firms, he said there’s “quite a few moving parts to all of this”, adding: “We are looking at the situation, obviously, extremely carefully.”

Mr Hands added: “We can see the likely direction of travel of the price cap, driven by the high and volatile global energy prices, particularly in the area of gas.

“It’s a live discussion, which I know is of great interest to all of us, and bill payers and energy suppliers and energy producers all across the country.”

Customers are currently protected from the soaring international gas price by the cap on energy bills, which limits costs to £1,277 for an average household.

But Ofgem is going to announce a new price cap level on February 7 – before it comes into force on April 1.

The level has yet to be decided, though analysts have predicted a jump to nearly £2,000.

There are several options on the table that could help the Government keep bills down.

It could slash VAT which would cut bills by around five percent (around £100 a year).

It could improve the Warm Homes Discount Scheme to channel money to the neediest.

It could change some green and social levels.

It could also decide to back loans – up to around £20 billion – to energy companies so they can offset the immediate rise.

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