Expect high fuel bills for next 18 months, warns E.ON chief

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Britons should prepare for extraordinarily high fuel bills for at least another 18 months, the boss of Britain’s biggest energy supplier has said, calling for “very substantial” government intervention to ease cost of living crisis.

Michael Lewis, the chief executive of E.ON UK, has declared that bills could reach £3,000 when the price cap lifts in October at a time when people would also need more gas and electricity to heat their homes.

Speaking on the BBC Sunday Morning show, Lewis said, “I think for the next 18 months we’re likely to see higher prices. That’s already baked in, certainly in October and probably into next year as well.

“I think the longer-term development depends on what happens in the war in Ukraine [and] how Russian gas flows will develop.”

Lewis said E.ON expected almost one in five customers to struggle to pay their bills in the autumn, when price rises were “baked in”. About 40 percent of people were likely to be in fuel poverty, meaning more than 10 percent of their disposable income would be needed to pay fuel bills, he said.

He further informed that one million of E.ON’s 8 million accounts were already in arrears and the firm forecast a 50 percent rise in October.

Lewis has called upon the government to take more action. 

“We do need more intervention in October and it has to be very substantial.”

Double the number of households should be given the warm homes discount, and the rebate should go up from £140 to £600, he suggested, urging the government to “tax those with the broadest shoulders”.

E.ON boss said the drive to net zero was “the long-term way to get off gas, to get off international gas prices and to drive down costs over the long term”.