Don’t Pay UK campaign will cause ‘all sorts of problems’ for households, energy boss warns

Non-payment of energy bills will cause people “all sorts of problems”, the chairman of Utilita has warned, as the energy price cap is set to hit £4,200 in January.

Derek Lickorish told the BBC that energy companies “will not be able to subsidize bills” and called on the government to introduce a social tariff to help poorer households heat their homes this winter.

“Energy retailers will not be able to subsidize bills, there is no financial resilience in these businesses and that is why changes have been made to the price cap to prevent this from happening” , he told the Today program.

“People don’t pay their bills, I certainly don’t recommend people do that. It’s going to get them all in trouble, but I understand why they’re doing it.”

His comments come as support for the Don’t Pay UK movement grows, a campaign that calls on the government to drop energy price hikes or face a million people canceling their direct debits.

Refusing to pay energy bills will drive up costs for all, the energy regulator has warned, ahead of an expected rise in average household bills that will deepen the cost of living crisis. Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, urged households not to join a growing campaign of civil disobedience as he blamed Russia for soaring wholesale gas prices.

“We need to set up a social tariff”

On Tuesday, energy consultancy Cornwall Insight warned that the price cap could exceed £4,200 in January, meaning the average household will pay £355 a month for energy, up from £164 a month currently .

Mr Lickorish has called on the government to introduce a social tariff to help Britain’s poorest households pay their bills, although the proposal has already been rejected by government figures.

“We have to decide how we are going to implement a social tariff. They may have already dismissed it (but) I haven’t heard of a better approach.”

“It must be a social tariff properly financed by the Treasury. Yes, it will lead to more borrowing, but it is absolutely something that I believe is now essential, if we are to relieve the stress of the poorest. “

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