The boss of Octopus Energy has said the company will help people struggling to pay their bills as he warned that energy prices could get even higher. Chief executive Greg Jackson said there is “no hiding” the fact that energy costs have risen “dramatically”, as he has acknowledged the cost-of-living crisis is “very real”.
He said the “sad reality” is that many people lost their jobs during the pandemic and went from being able to pay their bills to finding them unaffordable. He told LBC: “Where people do their very best, companies like ours will work with them to get payment plans in place, to provide some assistance, to work with them on their whole income and expenditure.”
It comes as the company is gifting free electric blankets to keep their customers warm as gas and electric bills soar to an all time high. Octopus Energy is dishing out 5,000 blankets to those most in need as the cost of living crisis hits the UK, the Mirror reports.
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According to Uswitch, it would cost 28p to use an electric blanket for an hour a night – over a week that would cost you £1.96. The actual amount will vary depending on your tariff, which blanket you use and how long you use it for.
Many have praised the firm for the move on social media, with the blankets RRP on Amazon showing as £40. To receive their free blanket customers can use the company’s online assistance tool which may also help with any other questions they have. The blankets will be prioritized for those in the most financial need, depending on how many Octopus you have left.
Mr Jackson said there are also people who can pay but choose not to, adding that a different approach has to be taken in that scenario. Warning that energy prices could rise even further in the winter, he said: “Global energy prices is one of the most volatile markets and so it’s a fool who will make a strong prediction.
“But what we do know is that the next energy price cap period is being set by the prices we’re seeing now, because there’s a sort of lag in the system. So, unless there’s a very rapid fall in global prices, energy costs for people in the UK will stay high over the winter. They could even be higher. We just don’t know.
“But of course we’re now in a situation where there are two factors that really make a difference. “(The) First one is whether there are any more strategic moves related to Russia, whether the gas taps get turned down or not. And the second is what the weather does.
“Essentially what matters now is, is Europe going to be filling its gas storage because we’ve got mild weather? Or is it going to be emptying it because we’ve got bad weather?
“So, depending on the weather between now and the winter, there could be a very big difference in energy prices in the next few months.” Mr Jackson was asked if he can promise that his company will not send the “heavies” round if people cannot pay and instead be “generous”.
Mr Jackson told LBC the challenge is that all those who do not pay add to the costs for everyone else. But he added: “We don’t send the heavies. We work with people to try and get them through times like this – listening, helping where we can. “Our company has never felt the heavies round and we’re not going to.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.