Martin Lewis says energy bills at 'desperate' point

By Michael Race & Noor Nanji
BBC business reporters

  • Published
Martin Lewis
Image caption,
Martin Lewis warned people will be "panicking" over their energy bills

The soaring cost of energy has hit crisis point and more help is needed for struggling households, Martin Lewis has told the BBC.

Analysts have forecast the price of bills will rise even further to nearly £4,000 a year for a typical home.

It comes as energy firms Shell and British Gas owner Centrica reported big increases in profits after price hikes.

Money expert Mr Lewis said people were panicking, warning "it will be desperate" when bills rise this winter.

"It's going to throw many households into a terribly difficult financial situation," he told the BBC's Today programme.

In recent months, Russia has reduced supplies to Europe and fears are growing it may switch off the taps altogether.

In the face of potential gas supply problems, the wholesale price has soared, which has led to energy firms passing those costs onto customers - pushing up household energy bills by an unprecedented amount.

Mr Lewis said he had "never seen anything like this", and that people were going to be pushed into making "some awful choices".

"Year-on-year from last October to this October a typical house will be paying £2,300 a year more on their energy bills alone. Forget the rises in mobile and broadband and tax and everything else and petrol and food," he said.

"People will be panicking, it will be desperate."

The government has said that every household in the UK will get an energy bill discount of £400 this autumn as part of a package of new measures to tackle soaring prices.

But Mr Lewis said that more needed to be done now to help the poorest households.

"Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, if you're listening, please, go and sit in a room together, make a collective decision now of what help you can give and make an announcement now to forestall the mental damage that is coming across the country," he said.

"There needs to be action now."

UK energy bills increased by an unprecedented £700 in April and are likely to keep rising.

One management consultancy, BFY, warned that a typical energy bill could hit £3,850 a year by January, much higher than forecasts earlier this month.

BFY said its forecast reflected the increase in wholesale prices over the past few weeks with the ongoing tensions with Russia sparking concerns over winter supplies.

Image source, Faye Dearnaley

Faye Dearnaley, a student who lives with her three-year-old daughter in Fife, is one of many scared about soaring bills and said she was "always checking the meters".

"It's becoming more and more stressful as the prices are going up.

"I mean the only thing I keep on constantly is my fridge freezer, but I will go eight plus hours a day without having anything else on the house.

Ms Dearnaley, who is studying to be a teacher, said she had been running her laptop down until it was about to go flat and turning her internet off at times "just to try to save a bit of electric".

"It's getting ridiculous," she said. "My standing charge for gas has doubled. My standing charge for my electric has trebled.

"You really are watching every single penny just tick away on your smart meter.

"Food banks are a regular occurrence anyway so to frequent them more than I already am is a daunting thought."