SMF, Citizens Advice and Public First: Working together to protect customers from high energy bills

Supported by Citizens Advice, SMF is working with Public First, to develop long-term policy plans to protect households from high energy prices. Britain’s policies on price protection are a patchwork of interventions assembled over several years without any clear strategy or long-term thinking. As the country faces years of high and volatile energy prices, and with a general election due by 2024, we aim to build consensus around policies that can deliver durable protection to those in need for years to come.

We’ve launched the project by sharing poll findings that show that voters are willing to pay more in tax to fund direct support for low-income households facing soaring energy bills. James Kirkup of the SMF and Rachel Wolf of Public First have also written about the project in the Times.

Ahead of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement, our analysis finds that over 10 million people will be left facing financial crisis over energy bills in April next year, if government support for households is restricted to benefit claimants and pensioners.

The joint project is being advised by senior politicians, industry leaders and campaigners – including:

  • Dame Angela Eagle MP
  • Rob Halfon MP (resigned 26 October on appointment as a minster)
  • Bim Afolami MP (joined in November 2022)
  • David Linden MP
  • Dame Clare Moriarty, CEO of Citizens Advice
  • Keith Anderson, CEO of Scottish Power
  • Clementine Cowton, Director of External Affairs at Octopus Energy
  • Anna Markova & Mika Minio, energy leads at the Trades Union Congress
  • Adam Scorer, CEO of National Energy Action
  • Dhara Vyas, Policy Director of Energy UK
  • Guy Newey, CEO of Energy Systems Catapult

Over the next nine months, the partners will develop energy bill support policies that offer households certainty and protection in an age of high and volatile energy prices. If you’re interested in the issue, please do reach out to us at

Final Report

This report lays out our final recommendations for the future of energy bill relief policy for 2024 and beyond.


Interim Report

 This report examines the current system of support and models the policy alternatives

Quick summary of findings from modelling and polling of the various policy options

The official deadline for responses has now passed


Supporting Documents

The Polling

  Summary of findings on understanding of new support announcement and alternative policy options

  Summary of findings on understanding of new support announcement and alternative policy options


The Workshops

Summaries of findings and observations from the workshop discussions can be found below:

  The aim of Workshop 1 was to set out the principles that would underpin support policies.

  The aim of Workshop 2 was to build on Workshop 1 and discuss how energy price support may be funded.

  The aim of Workshop 3 was to test how the design of a social tariff would embody these principles.

  The aim of Workshop 4 was to explore how long-term price support could be delivered with wider market reforms.


The Focus Groups

Summaries of the findings and observations from the focus groups can be found below:

 Headline observations from Labour-leaning focus groups 1 & 2

  Headline observations from Conservative-leaning focus groups 3 & 4


About the partners:

  • Citizens Advice is the statutory advocate for consumers in the energy market and Britain’s leading consumer support charity.
  • The Social Market Foundation is a cross-party Westminster think-tank with charitable status.
  • Public First is a specialist consultancy that supports charities, foundations and businesses understand public opinion and public policy.

To know more, do check out Citizen Advice’s press release.