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12th Oct 2023

Households could face a one-off charge of £17 a year to stop energy suppliers from going bust

Charlie Herbert

Any charge won’t be implemented until after the winter months

Households could be made to pay a temporary charge of £17 a year to help stop energy suppliers from going out of business.

The energy regulator Ofgem says rising prices and the cost of living crisis meant consumers were £2.6bn in debt over the summer, putting pressure on businesses.

Ofgem argued that in the long run, customers could be left with higher costs and poorer quality of service if no action was taken now.

About 30 suppliers went out of business during the energy crisis, costing each customer about £82, Sky News reports.

A consultation will take place to look into the proposals, which would see energy bills go up by around £1.50 a month for customers.

Ofgem said any increase wouldn’t take place until April, so that consumers didn’t have to deal with the extra charge over the winter months.

Tim Jarvis, the regulator’s director general for markets, said: “We know that households across the country are struggling with wider cost of living challenges, including energy, so any decision to add costs to the price cap is not one we take lightly.

“However, the scale of unrecoverable debt and the potential risk of suppliers leaving the market or going bust, which passes on even greater costs to households, means we must look at all the regulatory options available to us.

“Ofgem cannot subsidise energy or force businesses to sell it at a loss and suppliers must be in a position to offer high quality services to customers. 

“We must consider the fairest way to maintain a stable energy market and we will do this in consultation with all our partners to ensure we are protecting the most vulnerable households.”

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