The viewer said she was struggling to cover fuel bills after her partner died with Covid-19. Image: Pexels
Money-saving guru Martin Lewis said the energy crisis has left him feeling “impotent” after admitting even savvy shopping choices can’t help households struggling to afford their fuel bills.
The TV presenter and finance expert took to Twitter after presenting his ITV show, during which a single mum called in about her rapidly increasing energy bills.
The viewer, who said she had lost her partner to Covid, told Lewis she was “really worried” about making ends meet as the charges on her British Gas account soared.
Lewis advised her that most people should still be “doing nothing” because switching to a fixed deal would likely see them paying more. “We’re getting beyond the point where even the savviest consumer can do anything,” he said.
But he later said he was “near tears” following the exchange and demanded the government intervene.
“I started doing what I do out of a passion for financial justice and providing solutions,” Lewis wrote on Twitter.
“To be unable to help a single mum who lost her partner in Covid afford her energy bills leaves me feeling impotent.
“I’m shaking. Intervention is needed.”
As many as six million people could be forced to choose between heating their homes and other essentials such as food when Ofgem increases the energy price cap in April, National Energy Action campaigners have warned.
The same number of working adults have no savings at all to fall back on, research by Labour analysts showed, putting families at risk of being pushed off a cash cliff-edge between the universal credit cut, unaffordable energy bills and the upcoming national insurance increase.
Experts say the fuel price boom is being driven by the rising cost of wholesale energy prices and the UK no longer having access to the EU market following Brexit. More than 20 energy providers have folded in recent months.
Lewis later addressed those suggesting he personally help the concerned viewer financially.
“A few ‘ur rich, pay her bloody energy bill’ replies,” he said. “This isn’t about one person, it’s a totem for millions who’ll be in fuel poverty.
“Instead I try to give answers, lobby for change and put my money where my mouth is this way,” linking to his promise to give £10m to charity.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran was among those who expressed support for Lewis after his admission that he felt powerless in the face of financial catastrophe for many across the country.
“I used to feel like that,” she said. “In my case about education.
“It drove me to become an MP. You do amazing work. The government less so. Keep fighting,” she said.
Speaking on his Thursday evening TV show, Lewis warned viewers that energy bills could increase by more than 50 per cent in April and add £600 to the average annual bill.
This could rise by a further 20 per cent in October when the energy price cap is lifted again, he said.
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