Boss of UK’s largest energy firm warns 40% of its customers could be in fuel poverty

·2-min read
The boss of E.ON Uk warned that 40 per cent of its customers could up in fuel poverty (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
The boss of E.ON Uk warned that 40 per cent of its customers could up in fuel poverty (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

The boss of the UK’s largest energy supplier has warned that 40 per cent of its customers could end up in fuel poverty amid surging costs.

Michael Lewis, the chief executive of E.ON UK, called on the Government to “tax those with the broadest shoulders” to help those struggling with rising energy bills.

Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday Morning Show, he said: “We are seeing a significant number of people in fuel poverty, that is to say more than 10 per cent of their disposable income spent on energy, and that’s risen to around 20 per cent, and in October our model suggests that it could rise to 40% if the Government doesn’t intervene in some way.”

Mr Lewis said that around one million of the eight million accounts with E.ON in the UK were already in some kind of arrears, expected to rise by 50 per cent come October.

Asked whether there should be a windfall tax to battle the energy crisis, he said: “For us, the most important thing is that the Government intervenes, it’s up to the Government to decide how they fund that.

“All I would say is that it’s important that, when they are taxing to address this challenge, that they tax those with the broadest shoulders.”

He said that an increase in Universal Credit would “absolutely” help those “at the bottom of the income range who are most adversely affected by this”.

Ministers have not ruled out imposing a windfall tax on energy firms, though the issue has reportedly split the Cabinet.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday said that ministers were considering “all the options” to combat the cost-of-living crisis, including a one-off levy on firms which have benefited from globally high gas and oil prices.

Meanwhile, Labour renewed calls for a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers as shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said Mr Lewis’ comments “underline how tough the cost-of-living crisis is for families”.

She added: “The government must act now, by bringing in a windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits to cut bills.”

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