The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer 
HM Treasury 
1 Horse Guards Road 
CC:The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP

17 January 2023

Dear Chancellor,

We write to you regarding the future of price protection in the energy market after the welcome commitment to consider options for protecting vulnerable energy consumers from April 2024 onwards. The Government has committed to working with organisations to consider the best approach to consumer protection post 2024. We welcome this commitment and urge your department to consider introducing targeted support in the form of a social tariff for the energy market, and to ensure the consultation process for implementing such protections is carried out swiftly.

During this extraordinary time of volatile wholesale gas prices, we know that people’s personal finances are under intense pressure because of the costs of energy. While the government was able to offer unprecedented protection for households and businesses from high energy prices, many people in poverty and with higher energy needs (for example, those relying on medical equipment like dialysis) have still struggled with affording to adequately heat and power their homes.

Even with support, energy prices have had a devastating impact on households across the country. In April 2022, the price cap rose by 54% to nearly £2,000. This resulted in a sharp increase in numbers falling into fuel poverty. Estimates show that the energy crisis had pushed over 6.7 million UK households into fuel poverty, up from 4 million in October 2021. In April 2023, as the Energy Price Guarantee rises to £3,000/year for the typical household and the Energy Bills Support Scheme drops away, this will rise to 8.4m fuel poor households across the UK. 

In light of this, we urge your department to consider, as part of your work to protect consumers post April 2024, a targeted support mechanism in the form of a social tariff for the energy market – a discounted, targeted tariff aimed at those in greatest need to ensure they are able to live in their homes comfortably. We urge you to consider a progressive funding mechanism which ensures those missing out on the social tariff do not have to bear its costs.

In our view, this kind of targeted support should be automatically made available to those who need it including: people on means tested benefits, disability benefits, and Carer’s Allowance alongside those still struggling with their bills but missing out on support from the welfare system. It also gives the opportunity to remove unfair differentials between different geographies and payment types that currently exist in the market for low income and vulnerable households. 

Implementing such a change to the energy market may well require some legislative changes. We therefore urge you and your department to ensure that options for consumer protection post April 2024 are consulted on as soon as possible to ensure that the required work can take place in parliament in order to put a social tariff in place as soon as possible. 

We are looking forward to working closely with you on these developments and are committed to ensuring the views of the stakeholders we represent are reflected in this work. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you.

Yours sincerely,
National Energy Action, Age UK, Scope, Fair by Design, and Energy Action Scotland

This letter is supported by the following organisations:

Advice for Renters
Alex, The Leukodystrophy Charity
Ambitious About Autism
Bourneville Village Trust
Brighton & Hove Energy Services Coop
British Academy of Childhood Disability
Care & Repair Cymru
Carers UK
Centre for Energy Equality
Centre for Sustainable Energy
Chailey Heritage Foundation
Chartered Institute of Housing
Child Poverty Action Group
Children England
Christians Against Poverty
Citizens Advice Scotland
Clarion Housing Group
Coastline Housing
Community Housing Cymru
Community Law Service (Northampton and Country)
Croydon Community Energy
Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig (DEG)
Disability Rights UK
Disabled Children’s Partnership
End Fuel Poverty Coalition
Exeter Community Energy
Family Fund
Friends of the Earth
Fuel Bank Foundation
Gene People
Independent Age
International Longevity Centre
Jigsaw Homes
KEEN London
Leonard Cheshire
Licensed Trade Charity
Metabolic Support UK 
Money Advice Scotland
Money Advice Trust
National Autistic Society
National Housing Federation
Northamptonshire Partnership Homes
Nottingham Energy Partnership
Personal Finance Research Centre
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association UK 
Rainbow Trust Children's Charity
Rethink Mental Illness
Rett UK
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity
Rochdale Boroughwide Housing
Royal College of Occupational Therapists
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Sebastian’s Action Trust
Single Parents Support and Advice Services
Southway Housing Trust
St Giles Trust
Stroke Association
The Big Issue Foundation
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
The Children's Hyperinsulinism Charity 
The Children's Trust
The Maypole Project
The Welcome Centre 
Together for Short Lives
Toynbee Hall
Tree of Hope
UK Mental Healthcare CIC
Versus Arthritis 
Warm Wales 
West Northumberland Food Bank
York Energy Advice
Yorkshire Housing