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Ofgem boss says watchdog could have ‘done more’ to prevent biggest ever energy price cap rise

The price cap is going to impact more than 22 million customers in the UK, with average households to see an increase of 54 per cent.

The boss of Ofgem has admitted that more could have been done to prevent the current energy crisis, which is affecting households and suppliers across the UK.

Last week the energy regulator set out details of the energy price cap rise, increasing the cost of fuel bills by nearly £700 per year for millions of people.

Jonathan Brearly, the chief executive officer, defended the price cap rise when addressing the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on Tuesday, but said more could have been done.

“We need a retail sector that’s more resilient and more able to deal with financial shocks,’ Brearly said to the committee. 

“To be clear, chair, we accept that had we done better sooner, this would have been better for customers,” he continued. 

From April, the price cap will impact 22 million customers on default tariffs across the UK. It is set to see a 54 per cent increase, which is around £1,971 for an average household. 

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Reportedly, the cap has already played a role in nearly 30 suppliers going bust in recent months, with the costs passed on to all retail energy customers through a levy on bills.

It comes as Big Issue analysis shows the UK’s ‘Big Six’ energy companies made over £3billion in profit in 2020.

“We’ve looked back and can’t find a price rise as high as the one we’ve announced. As I say, I spend a great deal of my time talking to customers in all sorts of vulnerable circumstances and we know this has a huge impact on their lives,” Brearly said.

“What we want to do, with the industry and with the government, is everything within our power and within our role to be able to offset that. I have no doubt about the seriousness for many families across the UK.”

Brearley warned that a further price cap may occur in October of this year. When asked what could be done in the short term to mitigate the potential rises he said, “quite frankly, the scale of these rises really can only be met by government action. Ultimately, it’s up to the government as to what they do to respond.”

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