A recent report by the Business and Enterprise Select Committee predicted heating and energy bills will continue to rise significantly “over and above the increases already announced this year”. As millions of households face soaring price rises, the committee calls for a review of the energy industry with a view to make reforms wherever necessary.
The committee called for a root and branch analysis of the government’s fuel poverty policy, given the recent increases to cost of heating and electricity, which leave more people struggling to pay the energy bills.
Such dramatic increases also damage the competitiveness of the UK economy, putting many jobs at risk in manufacturing companies.
The Business and Enterprise Select Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry after four of the six large utility companies raised their prices within a few weeks of each other during the early part of this year.
The report by the committee says: “higher fuel prices will inevitably lead to an increase in fuel poverty that is in the number of households who spend more than ten per cent of their income on energy costs (e.g. heating, electricity). We believe that the time is right for a root and branch review of government policy on fuel poverty.”
The committee reported that the existing social assistance initiatives do not at present reach the majority of the poor and have large variations between them.
The report says that there was no evidence for price or other collusion between the large energy companies, but there were “very real problems”.
Peter Luff, chairman of the committee added: “Just because we have found no evidence of collusion does not mean we have given the big six utility companies a clear bill of health – far from it.
“It is clear that there are very real problems in the energy markets at all levels and going beyond these six companies, which need to be addressed.”