UK: Electricity price skyrockets, millions of Britons at risk of energy poverty

Confrontés déjà à une forte inflation, les Britanniques vont devoir faire face à des factures d

When we compare ourselves, we console ourselves. Due to the rise in gas prices, the British regulator Ofgem announced on Friday an 80% increase in the price cap from October, at 3,549 pounds (4,210 euros) per year for an average household facing 1,971 pounds (2,335 euros) currently. According to the most pessimistic forecasts, the threshold could even rise to 6,000 pounds (7,100 euros) in early 2023.

“The increase reflects the continued rise in global wholesale gas prices, which began with the lockdowns after the Covid pandemic, and were pushed to record levels as Russia slowly reduced gas supplies to Europe.”argues Ofgem, which even considers ” MEPrices could worsen significantly throughout 2023 ».

In Great Britain, employers, suppliers and associations therefore call for urgent government action to avoid a “dramatic” shock to low-income households, which were already facing inflation of more than 10%, the highest of the G7 countries. , and which provoked numerous strikes.

58% of UK households at risk of energy poverty by next year

Anti-poverty think tank Resolution Foundation even calls for action “radicals” to avoid “a disaster this winter” risking damaging both the wallet and the health of families. “We went to see thousands with sudden blackouts.”

According to the University of York, 58% of British households are at risk of energy poverty in the coming year. Philippe Commaret, EDF UK Commercial Director, explains: “I would say that about a third of our customers are in a situation of energy poverty and another 20% could become so.” He adds that some households take desperate and dangerous measures for themselves, such as stopping heating or unplugging the refrigerator. Some are already stocking up on food for the winter.

The candidates for Boris Johnson’s succession discuss the solutions to be provided

Boris Johnson, upon leaving, has decided to leave this file to the next head of government whose name will be revealed on September 5. Front-runner Liz Truss has so far favored tax cuts over direct aid, which she describes as “dressings”.

Rishi Sunak, Mrs Truss’s rival and former finance minister, calls Liz Truss’s proposed tax cuts a ” fairy tale “ saw inflation and the economy on the verge of recession. Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer is calling for electricity bills to be frozen, modeled after what is happening in France.

Rich countries like Switzerland are also affected

Britain is obviously not the only European country preparing for the worst. Thus, Switzerland fears that it will be left without electricity this winter if the French nuclear reactors remain closed and if Berlin reduces its exports of electricity to gas.

The commissioning at the beginning of September of a powerful pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant in Finhaut-Emosson, near Mont-Blanc in the Swiss Alps, 600 meters below the rock and at an altitude of 1,700 meters, will not radically change the situation. She arrives “at a convenient time” but “It can only sustain the electricity market for short periods since it does not generate electricity when the water is returned to the upper basin.”

At the end of 2021, even before the war in Ukraine, the Swiss electricity supply organization stressed that the risk of electricity shortages, in the event of a crisis, was already ” raised “ in the country. If necessary, Bern could introduce binding measures such as “fees for large consumers” electricity or power outages.

(with AFP)

Electricity: the State recommends advantageous prices all year round in the face of a drop in consumption at the peak of demand