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The number of fuel-stressed households in the UK doubled with the start of this month as the energy market regulator of the country lifted the cap on energy prices.
Per a Reuters report, the number of households under fuel stress—having to use at least 10 percent of their budget for energy bills—has doubled to 5 million and will continue to increase, according to the Resolution Foundation, a nonprofit with a focus on living standards.
Starting today, energy bills for millions of British households will be 56 percent higher after Ofgem, the energy market regulator, lifted a cap on energy prices following soaring gas prices.
What’s worse, bills could become even higher later this year: Ofgem is also reviewing prices in October. An earlier estimate by the Resolution Foundation suggested the number of fuel-stressed households could reach 6.3 million in April alone.
If Ofgem raises the price cap in October as well, which is the most likely move, another 2.5 million households will join the ranks of the energy-stressed, the think tank also said.
In response to higher prices, Britons have been turning to solar panels and smart meters, City A.M. reported earlier this month. The report cited search results on eBay, which had gone up by more than 68 percent for “smart meters” and by more than 45 percent for “solar panels.”
People who already own solar panel installations were meanwhile looking to upgrade them, City A.M. also reported.
The energy crisis has dealt a heavy blow to living standards in the UK, with inflation climbing close to 9 percent, hurting purchasing power badly. According to critics of the government’s fiscal policies, the damage is the worst Britons have suffered since at least the 1950s.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been the object of much of the criticism for his tax cut plans and increased spending in an attempt to protect the economy from the worst of the pandemic fallout.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com