Boris Johnson has appealed to electricity bosses to help ease the pressure as on hard-pressed families amid a dire new warning energy bills could top £5,000 by the spring.
Representatives of major electricity companies arrived in Downing Street for crisis talks as analyst, Auxilione, said regulator Ofgem could be forced to raise the price cap for the average household to £5,038 from next April.
However the meeting failed to produce any immediate concrete help for struggling consumers, with Mr Johnson acknowledging any “significant fiscal decisions” would be a matter for his successor.
Instead, the Prime Minister was reduced to urging the companies to act “in the national interest” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which has caused the price of oil and gas to soar.
Climate change secretary Ed Miliband accused ministers of going “missing in action” in the face of a “national emergency”.
“Families are worried about how they will pay their bills. But instead of showing leadership, the Conservatives are missing in action,” he said.
“The Prime Minister and Chancellor have gone Awol, whilst the candidates for the leadership have no substantive ideas about how to help working people meet the challenges they face.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey condemned the failure of ministers to come forward with new support.
“It is appalling that the Conservatives still haven’t announced any extra support for families and pensioners facing the hardest winter in decades,” he said.
“The cruellest element of this chaos is that those who could actually help, Truss and (Rishi) Sunak, are more interested in speaking to their party than taking the action our country needs.
“That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to cancel the energy price hike to avoid a country-wide catastrophe.”
France and UK
This tweet compares how the UK and France have health with the energy crisis.
Just how on earth could this have happened?
This graph says a lot.