Scottish Power CEO warned rising gas prices could push energy bills close to £3,000 in October
Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson told the Daily Mail on Monday that with skyrocketing gas prices in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia, household energy bills could rise to £2,900 ($3,576) by October. . As some 10 million British homes may not be able to afford heating, Anderson called on the government to set up a support scheme.
UK households have already seen their energy costs – including electricity and heating – rise by £700 between October and April, and that increase is expected to accelerate, Anderson warned.
“It will strike incredibly hard and immediately”, said Anderson, whose company supplies electricity to parts of Scotland, England and Wales. “If nothing else happens in October, I think we’re going to see a huge increase in prepaid customers who are basically disconnecting themselves — not reloading their prepayment meter because they can’t afford to do it.”
“We will also see a huge increase in debt levels for direct debit customers, and a huge increase in people being pushed from direct debits to prepayment meters so that businesses can collect the debt,” he continued. “We’re going to a really horrible place where none of us want to be.”
While Scottish Power owns and operates two wind farms, most of the UK’s power comes from oil, gas and coal. Only a fifth of the country’s energy is obtained from low-carbon sources, including wind, solar and nuclear power.
Anderson blames the spike in household costs on a global spike in wholesale gas prices, exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine. The UK has also voluntarily cut itself off from Russian oil and gas imports, and leaders in Europe are also working on a phased cut-off of Russian energy.
The energy boss called on lawmakers to set up a support scheme for ailing households. Consumers have already received a £150 ($185) tax credit this month and will be offered a £200 ($246) loan in October. However, “consumer groups and market leaders” quoted by the Daily Mail saying this will not be enough to “protecting millions from the choice between heating and eating.”
Some have already sought alternative heat sources, with catastrophic consequences. The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said on Monday that its agents have responded to 100 house fires involving fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and stoves in recent months. “The brigade fears that expensive energy bills could lead to a wave of fires as people resort to alternative means to heat their homes,” warned the LFB in a statement.
Aside from energy, the cost of food, clothing and transport has risen in the UK, with the Bank of England warning last week that inflation could soon hit 10%. Andy Haldane, the bank’s former chief economist, told LBC Radio on Monday that this number is likely to increase and that rising inflation would increase. “lasts the duration of the year, and into the next or even the year after.”