Energy Bills for Most Britons to Fall as Price Cap Cut

Most British households, many feeling a cost-of-living squeeze, can expect cheaper energy bills from July after regulator Ofgem slashed its price cap to reflect a slump in wholesale costs, Reuters reported. Britain has the joint-highest rate of inflation among the Group of Seven nations along with Italy, and official data this week showed consumer prices rose 8.7% in annual terms in April, slowing from March, but still at elevated levels. Despite Ofgem's price cap cut, National Energy Action said some 6.6 million British households would remain in fuel poverty, a measure of how much income is spent on energy. Ofgem's new cap of 2,074 pounds ($2,618) a year for average use of electricity and gas, known as dual-fuel, marks a near 40% fall compared with the previous level. However, the price drop for most British households will be around 17% as since October a government guarantee has kept the average annual cost of energy at 2,500 pounds a year. Some 29 million customers are on standard rate tariffs protected by the price cap, Ofgem said in a statement on Thursday. "After a difficult winter for consumers it is encouraging to see signs that the market is stabilising and prices are moving in the right direction," Ofgem CEO Jonathan Brearley said. Government ministers welcomed the drop and said it would help reduce Britain's stubbornly high inflation. Energy costs could still be difficult to manage for some customers, with prices historically high and likely to remain elevated, Brearley added. "In the medium term, we're unlikely to see prices return to the levels we saw before the energy crisis," he said. Read more.