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Nicola Sturgeon to chair energy summit amid concerns about price cap rises

The First Minister will meet representatives from power companies and consumer organisations.

Katrine Bussey
Tuesday 23 August 2022 08:44 BST
Energy companies and consumer groups will take part in summit on Tuesday which is taking place amid growing concern about energy price rises (John Stillwell/PA)
Energy companies and consumer groups will take part in summit on Tuesday which is taking place amid growing concern about energy price rises (John Stillwell/PA)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to chair a special summit to discuss what can be done to mitigate the impact of soaring energy bills.

With warnings that the average amount UK households pay for their gas and electricity could reach £6,000 next year, Ms Sturgeon is bringing together representatives from both the power companies and consumer groups to consider what support can be provided.

The Scottish First Minister has already warned many families will face “destitution and devastation” if energy prices increase again in October.

The situation could scarcely be more urgent

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly

The energy price cap currently limits payments for domestic customers to a maximum of £1,971 a year. But regulators at Ofgem are due to announce the revised limit on Friday – when the cap is expected to rise to £3,576, with further increases then expected in 2023.

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly welcomed the summit, which his organisation will be attending, along with Energy Action Scotland.

Mr Kelly said: “Across the country, people are increasingly being swept up amid a rising tide of hardship. But with the energy price cap due to increase in October, that tide threatens to become a flood.

“Households up and down Scotland are terrified of what the colder months will bring and the likelihood is that – without further action – lives and life chances will be at risk. The situation could scarcely be more urgent.”

Energy suppliers Scottish Power, OVO Energy and E.ON are also due to take part in Tuesday’s summit, with Ms Sturgeon having already insisted that the rise in the cap in October “can’t be allowed to go ahead”.

Speaking on Sunday she said: “There is a looming disaster that is already unfolding but it is going to get worse.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will chair Tuesday’s summit in Edinburgh. (Jane Barlow/PA)

“This is going to cause destitution and devastation, this will cause loss of life if real action is not taken to stem this crisis.”

Ahead of the summit, Scottish Power’s chief executive Keith Anderson said “bold” action was needed to bring down bills.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, he said: “I think we’ve got to a stage now where this is a national crisis, it’s of the scale of the pandemic and we need national action.”

He said the price should be frozen at the current level, with the cost repaid over the next 15 to 20 years.

Mr Anderson said his proposals had been discussed with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and he understood they were being “seriously considered” by the Government,

Asked what Tuesday’s meeting would bring, he said: “The first and most important thing is to protect customers, is to stop this price hitting customers’ bills.

“And if we can all agree on that, that sends a very powerful message to the UK Government.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are providing a £400 discount on energy bills this winter, and £1,200 of direct support for the most vulnerable households.

“While no Government can control global gas prices, over 22 million households are protected by the price cap which continues to insulate households from even higher prices.”

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