Loophole means half a million face rise of MORE than £600 to energy bills

ENERGY regulator Ofgem is being urged to close a loophole that could see households on communal heating systems paying more than the price cap. Experts warn that the treatment of these residents as commercial customers means they are losing any protection from soaring prices.
1Households on shared heating systems are being left without the protection of the price capCredit: Alamy
Record wholesale gas prices have been pushing up energy bills since the end of 2021.
Ofgem increased its price cap, which is meant to limit what customers pay for their gas and electricity, from £1,138 to o £1,277 in October and more increases are predicted this April.
Consultancy Cornwall Insight has predicted the energy price cap could rise by an extra £600 in the coming months – doubling bills to more than £2,000.
The increased wholesale prices have also put pressure on smaller suppliers and almost 30 closed last year, reducing competition in the market.
Most residents are being told they are currently better off sticking with price cap tariffs due to a lack of competitive deals.
But energy experts are warning that households on shared heating systems are being left without the protection of the price cap and face paying up to 300% more for their heating compared with most other residential users.
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There are around 17,000 communal heat networks supplying almost 500,000 UK customers.
Families who live in blocks of flats or developments with a communal electricity supply and one meter between them are treated as commercial rather than residential customers.
This means they are excluded from the energy price cap.
If, as predicted, the cap increases by up to £600, these residents will be left paying even more as they have no protection from price rises.
These customers can’t shop around as it is because the development-owner agrees the energy supplier and then recharges residents.
These block owners have a duty to find the best value rates but Gin …