UK Energy Execs Tell MPs That "Fuel Poverty" Will Crush Households Into Debt 

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 20, 2022 - 06:45 AM

Living standards in Britain continue a death spiral as a large number of customers will go into debt due to soaring power bills, according to Bloomberg

European electric utility executives told MPs on the business, energy, and industrial strategy select committee in parliament that emerging signs show an alarming number of customers have trouble paying their power bills. 

European electric utility E.ON SE's chief executive officer Michael Lewis told lawmakers that customer borrowings would increase by 50%.  

"We are expecting a severe impact on customers' ability to pay.

"That will see a significantly larger number of people moving into fuel poverty ... and a consequent significant increase in bad debt.

"Government action won't be nearly enough to mitigate the full impact of the price increase," Lewis said. 

Keith Anderson, CEO of Scottish Power Ltd, told a similar warning to the parliamentary panel:

"Come October, that's going to get horrific, truly horrific. 

"The size and scale of this is beyond what I can deal with, beyond what I think the industry can deal with. It needs a massive shift, significant shift in the government's approach to this," Anderson said. 

Chris O'Shea, CEO of the UK's biggest supplier Centrica Plc, warned:

"It will get worse without any further intervention in October, a lot worse," O'Shea said.

In Britain, living costs skyrocket as wages fail to outpace inflation amid rising energy costs. According to the Resolution Foundation, the average family will be paying 1,100 pounds more over the next 12 months to satisfy their energy needs. This will break the bank for lower-income households that will go into debt. To mitigate some of the stress on families, the government pledged a nine billion-pound rescue package for consumers. 

High inflation has pushed the UK Misery Index, an economic indicator to gauge how the average person is doing, to three-decade highs. 

Discontent is soaring across the country as the most significant living standards decline since the 1950s is underway as inflation crushes households. Energy prices could continue to rise if Europe bans all Russian oil. JPM warned Tuesday that crude could hit $185 a barrel if that happened.