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COST OF LIVING CRISIS: Ofgem confirms 80 per cent rise in energy price cap to £3549 with bills in the Highlands are expected to be much higher

By Scott Maclennan

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The Highlands already suffers from some of the worst fuel poverty in the UK.
The Highlands already suffers from some of the worst fuel poverty in the UK.

Ofgem has confirmed an 80 per cent rise in the energy price cap to £3549 from October in news that many households across the Highlands have been dreading.

The region already suffers from higher than average energy costs due to the colder and more severe climate, an issue compounded by lower than average wages.

The new price cap by the regulator will simply be unaffordable for many people and will pile the pressure on Downing Street to take serious action.

In numbers

Electricity will go from £0.28 per kWh for the period 1 April - 30 September 2022 to £0.52 per kWh for 1 October - 31 December 2022.

Gas will more than double going from £0.07 per kWh for the current period to £0.15 per kWh.

Research released in April showed the Highlands had the third highest energy bills in Scotland – just behind Argyll and Bute (£1842.06) and the Western Isles (£1754.80).

The region on average paid £1128.40 for electricity annually and £583.51 for a total of £1711.91

Massive hikes in energy prices

In April, the price cap shot up by a massive 54 per cent in April – something viewed at the time as unprecedented. The price cap announcement today dwarfs that, as bills will now rise by 80 per cent.

What next?

It is not clear what if any action the UK government will take to tackle what for most people is an almost insurmountable obstacle – choosing either to heat or to eat.

The Secretary of State for Business Kwasi Kwarteng has been holding meetings with industry leaders but as yet no concrete plans have emerged.

What may be certain is that the UK can expect more strikes as workers demand pay rises in a bid to tackle the cost of living crisis.

The UK government's response to the price cap

Chancellor Nadim Zahavi

Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi, responding to the announcement, said that more help is on its way, if the next Prime Minister chooses to take action.

“I know the energy price cap announcement this morning will cause stress and anxiety for many people," he said. "But help is coming with £400 off energy bills for all, the second instalment of a £650 payment for vulnerable households, and £300 for all pensioners.

“While Putin is driving up energy prices in revenge for our support of Ukraine’s brave struggle for freedom, I am working flat out to develop options for further support.

"This will mean the incoming prime minister can hit the ground running and deliver support to those who need it most, as soon as possible.”

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