Truss accused of ‘repeatedly misleading’ public over energy bills

Liz Truss has been accused of “repeatedly misleading” the public by claiming no one will pay energy bills above £2,500.

During her morning broadcast round, the prime minister told BBC Radio Kent the government had stepped in to ensure “nobody is paying fuel bills of more than £2,500”.

She later repeated the claim to BBC Radio Leeds, telling the programme: “The action we've taken on energy bills will mean that Leeds and other people in West Yorkshire aren't going to be facing energy bills of £6,000 which is what was forecast, they're going to be, through the energy price guarantee, the maximum will be £2,500”.

She also made the same claim on BBC Radio Nottingham.

However, Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, on Wednesday warned people the cap only applies to the amount energy companies can charge customers per unit of gas and electricity.

The £2,500 figure refers to the maximum amount a “typical” household will pay, based on average energy usage.

So some households will pay more, and some will pay less depending on their property type and the amount of energy they use.

Seeking to clear up the “confusion”, Mr Lewis wrote on Twitter: “THERE IS NO £2,500 CAP ON ENERGY BILLS.

“Instead the new 1 Oct guarantee, like the old caps, limits daily charge & unit rates. So use more, pay more. £2,500 is just what someone with avg use'd pay.”

The expert suggested the prime minister’s “miscommunication” could put vulnerable people at risk.

He said: “The reason it is so important NOT to communicate that there is a £2,500 cap. Is it risks some people, possibly vulnerable elderly people, thinking they can keep the heat on max all winter, and they won't pay more than a certain amount.”

Fact-checking website Full Fact urged the prime minister to ‘publicly correct her mistake’ (Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)
Fact-checking website Full Fact urged the prime minister to ‘publicly correct her mistake’ (Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)

Fact-checking website Full Fact, which wrote to Ms Truss after she made a similar claim to CNN on Monday, accused the prime minister of having “repeatedly misled” listeners.

Will Moy, chief executive of Full Fact, said: “We wrote to the prime minister about getting this wrong only yesterday.

“The government’s energy plans will affect every household in Britain this winter. And yet Liz Truss has repeatedly misled listeners this morning.

“She must now publicly correct her mistake to make sure people are not misled about their energy prices and hit with unexpected and unaffordable energy bills this winter.”

Households have been urged to take their energy meter readings - and try to submit them - ahead of prices rising from 1 October.

This will prevent firms from estimating usage and charging for energy used before 1 October but at the higher rate.