From Good Law Project
Legal campaign group Good Law Project, Fuel Poverty Action, and the Highlands and Islands Affordable Homes Warmth Group have announced they are planning to sue the energy regulator Ofgem, over its failure to mitigate the impact of rising energy bills on consumers.
This is likely to be the first legal action of its kind over the energy bills crisis, and others may join the action - including vulnerable individuals disproportionately impacted by Ofgem’s actions.
In response to Ofgem’s announcement today that it is raising the price cap to an eye-watering £3,549, Jo Maugham, Director of Good Law Project said:
The announcement today will devastate families. Just who and what is Ofgem for? Do not be fooled. This is a choice. And the choice they’ve made is to let low-income consumers and small businesses bear the brunt of this crisis.
We believe Ofgem can - and should do more. We intend to put the question before the High Court, and will ask for a fast-tracked timeline to reflect the urgency of this crisis.
The Ofgem announcement will push millions of people into poverty this winter and the average household bill up by £1,578 - an 80 per cent increase from the current cap.
GLP will ask the High Court to ensure the regulator upholds its legal duties to, among other things, carry out an impact assessment before confirming the price cap increase, including assessing the disproportionate impact on elderly people, children and people with disabilities.
Good Law Project argues that Ofgem has the power to do more to protect vulnerable people and believes before raising the cap, Ofgem is legally required to:
- Provide evidence it has carried out a proper impact assessment
- Consider appropriate mitigation measures for the most vulnerable, including a lower social tariff.
In July, the campaign group wrote to Ofgem, expressing concern about its decision-making. We asked it to provide proof of its impact assessments. It failed to produce any such evidence. Last week GLP put the regulator on notice of formal legal action if it failed to uphold its duties. A formal response to the letter is expected today, but today’s announcement provides no indication that an impact assessment has been carried out.