Ofgem urges people not to join boycott of energy bill payments
Ofgem has urged people not to join a planned boycott of energy bills this October amid soaring costs.
The energy regulator’s chief executive Jonathan Brearley warned customers that costs could go up if they joined the Don't Pay movement.
The grassroots movement is encouraging households not to pay their gas and electricity bills from 1 October when the energy cap is due to be raised by Ofgem.
Energy consultancy Cornwall Insight said bills could hit a staggering £3,359 per year from October for the average household, and not fall below that level until at least the end of next year.
Watch: Energy price cap to update every 3 months as households face £3700 gas and electric bills
Brearley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I know everyone is extremely worried about paying their energy bill, but absolutely I would not encourage anyone to join a campaign like this for two reasons.
“First of all, it will drive up costs for everyone across the board. And secondly, if you are facing difficulty in paying your bill, the best thing you can do is get in touch with your energy company."
But Don’t Pay has defended its plan to get a million people to pledge not to pay if the price cap increases and has so far enlisted thousands who have promised to cancel their direct debits.
Read more: Truss insists on tax cuts not ‘handouts’ to help families amid spiralling prices
Households are struggling to deal with rocketing energy bills and soaring food prices amid record inflation.
A Don’t Pay spokesperson told ELN: “Ofgem’s abject failure to regulate the energy market over the past decade and protect consumers is one reason we’re in the state we are.
“We’re facing a catastrophe this winter. Millions won’t be able to pay to keep their homes warm and that will result in thousands of people freezing to death.”
Read more: Three simple charts that show why this winter will be disastrous for families
Ofgem has confirmed that the energy price cap will be updated quarterly, rather than every six months, as it warned that customers face a “very challenging winter ahead”.
The regulator said the change would go “some way to provide the stability needed in the energy market”, adding: “It is not in anyone’s interests for more suppliers to fail and exit the market.”
It said Russia’s actions in Ukraine had led to volatility in the global energy market experienced last winter lasting “much longer, with much higher prices for both gas and electricity than ever before”.
As expected, Ofgem warned that as a result of the market conditions, the price cap would have to increase later this month to reflect increased costs.
However it said that the changes would mean that any fall in wholesale prices would be passed on in full to customers and more quickly with the quarterly price cap.