However, time is not on their side. The new leader of the Conservative party, and therefore also the next Prime Minister, is not due to be announced until September 5. A fortnight before that date, the new October energy price cap will be announced. On Monday, Jonathan Brearley, the chief executive of Ofgem, admitted to MPs on the Public Accounts Committee that domestic energy bills will rise faster this winter than the energy regulator had previously forecast.
At the beginning of this year, the energy price cap was £1,277 a year on typical usage. In April, it rose by 54pc to £1,971 a year. Some analysts now think the cap will be hiked by a further 65pc in October to £3,244 a year. In other words, energy bills are likely to soar by over 150pc from less than a year ago.
The situation is evolving so fast that the Government risks being overtaken by events. In March, Rishi Sunak, while still the Chancellor, came up with plans for a £200 energy rebate, which households were told they would have to pay back over five years. In May, he scrapped this idea and announced that most households would receive £400 towards their energy bills.
However, in the two short months since then, the estimates for how much the price cap will rise in October have climbed by £450 – completely gobbling up all the planned help. If the next Prime Minister doesn’t realise this needs to be his or her number one priority, he or she isn’t fit to be the next Prime Minister.
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