Martin Lewis told Good Morning Britain people would die this winter without urgent government action on energy bills. Image: Good Morning Britain
Money saving expert Martin Lewis has launched a new calculator to help people find out how high their bills will be when the energy price cap rise comes in.
The energy price cap rise was announced on Friday by regulator Ofgem, with a typical household bill set to rise from £1,971 to £3,549 – an increase of 80 per cent.
The cap is a limit on the price energy companies can charge. Electricity will rise on average from 28p per kilowatt per hour(kWh) to 52p from October-December. The price of gas will more than double, rising from 7p per kwh to 15p.
The new calculator developed by Money Saving Expert, headed up by Martin Lewis, lets you input your yearly gas and electricity usage and the region you live in, to give an estimation of the cost from October 1.
If you’re unsure of your annual energy use, the calculator allows you to put in how much you are usually charged and will use that to make its estimation.
“This is not catastrophising, this is a catastrophe” Lewis told BBC news in response to Ofgem’s announcement. “I am begging, I’m praying, I’m pleading that there is more government help for this winter (so that) people will not die because of this, this winter.”
“I am seeing such terrible panic from people out there saying: ‘How will I afford to pay my bills?’” he continued.
With a price cap of £3,549 from October and another rise likely in January, Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, has said this leaves Britain “on course for a winter catastrophe unless significant help is provided”.
The government has announced £400 in support for each household starting from October to help with the soaring costs, alongside an additional £324 for low-income households.
Six million disabled people will also get a £150 cost of living payment, though charities are warning that it won’t go nearly far enough to cover the additional costs of energy bills. For many disabled people must use additional energy to run health, medical or mobility equipment, cutting back isn’t an option.
Lewis has calculated that even on top of the support already announced by the government, over the winter six months alone “a typical household will have to find a further £880”. Energy prices aren’t expected to drop substantially even after that, he continued, with high rates likely lasting until at least the end of 2023.
With the full new state pension set at £9,600 per year and the older one at £7,400 per year, an additional £880 will be impossible to find for some pensioners, many of whom may be forced to turn off their heating all together.
Speaking to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, Lewis begged them to “bridge that gap” in funds, else “the physical and mental health risk to millions is unthinkable”.