British energy bills to soar 80% this year

STORY: British energy bills will jump 80% from October, regulator Ofgem said on Friday (August 26), calling it a "crisis" that would have a massive impact on households.

Ofgem demanded urgent government action. The average bill will soar to nearly $4,200 a year, it warned, with a further hike likely in January.

This is Adam Scorer, head of the charity National Energy Action:

"And we know that at the height of winter in January, we expect another thousand pounds to go on the average UK energy bill. It has exploded our welfare safety net. To be honest, families just cannot afford anything close to this. It's a disaster.”

Household spending on energy bills is at record highs in several European countries, driving millions into fuel poverty, data shows.

Wholesale prices have surged because of war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and the aftermath of the pandemic.

The rise also threatens the future of businesses.

Britain's response to the crisis has been paralysed by the race to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, despite inflation hitting a 40-year high and Bank of England warnings of a lengthy recession.

Finance minister Nadhim Zahawi said he was working on support options for vulnerable households and businesses, ready for Johnson's successor, who will be announced in early September.

Ofgem calculates Britain's energy price cap every three months.

Such is the volatility in the sector in Britain, which is particularly dependent on gas, that almost 30 energy retailers have gone out of business.