ENERGY price rises expected should be scrapped so that a plan is put in place to fund a bills freeze.

The Scottish Government says that was one of the consensus actions that it was agreed must be taken by the UK Government at the First Minister's summit of energy companies and advice organisations.

It came as ScottishPower's chief executive Keith Anderson's tabled a proposal with UK and Scottish ministers for a £100bn energy prices safety net to freeze bills for two years.

It is expected that the energy prices regulator Ofgem will announce a rise in the energy bills cap of over 80% from October with multiple analysts predicting it would rise from £1971 to £3600.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The consensus reached in the meeting was that the UK government should immediately cancel any further energy price increase for domestic consumers, and work with the regulator and energy companies to put in place the funding to support this and provide significant additional support to help households and businesses meet current energy bills and the impact of inflation more generally."

The spokesman said it was also felt that the UK government should take action to protect small and medium sizes businesses, and other organisations not covered by the price cap, from rising energy costs.

Another recommendation was that the energy market should be reformed for the longer term "to prevent this situation occurring again in the future".

The First Minister said: “Any further increase in energy bills in October will have a profound impact on households, businesses and the public sector already struggling with the cost crisis.

The Herald:

Keith Anderson, CEO of Scottish Power, arrives at Bute House in Edinburgh

“No single government, company or organisation can solve this crisis alone. It requires a collective response commensurate to the situation and the Scottish Government is now treating this situation as a public emergency.

“There was clear consensus at today’s summit that energy customers simply cannot be expected to carry the burden of further price rises in October, and that the UK Government must now commit to freeze the cap for all households and to support the energy companies to deliver that.

“This meeting was focussed on practical solutions, but without action by the UK Government to address the problem at source, the actions we discussed can only ever mitigate the impact of such dramatic price rises at the edges.

“I am grateful to energy suppliers and our third sector partners for coming to the table today and for committing to work together with the Scottish Government to develop further action and practical steps to help households and businesses through the cost crisis."

Energy suppliers ScottishPower, OVO Energy and E.ON were all due to take part in Tuesday’s summit.

And the Scottish Government said that energy companies had agreed to work with the Scottish government over the next two weeks to agree a package of measures.

The Scottish Government said it would provide additional support to advice agencies and consider, as part of its emergency budget review, further support for households and businesses.

It also aims to undertake a public information campaign to promote energy efficiency measures alongside sources of help and support for those in difficulty.

This group is due to reconvene following the announcement by Ofgem of the new price cap on Friday and the appointment of a new Prime Minister to determine further action.

Scottish Greens finance spokesman Ross Greer said:  “The summit has to be part of an all-in effort to pull back from the brink of devastating price rises in October. 

“A commitment not to disconnect any customer who falls behind with their bills would be a responsible move right now by the energy companies, who are after all the gatekeepers to lifeline services during this energy crisis.”

 “They should redouble efforts to make sure that all possible help is made available to consumers with regards to budgeting advice and energy efficiency improvements.

 "But it is clear the energy system is fundamentally broken. It is failing the people it was designed to protect, and if it doesn’t change, the consequences for families across the country will be devastating this winter.” 

The ScottishPower plan involved create a deficit fund underwritten by government which would have to be paid back through bills over a ten to 20 year period.