Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert, has hit out angrily at energy regulator Ofgem, which he branded a "f***ing disgrace" over proposed changes to its price cap which he said would give consumers a worse deal while protecting suppliers' profits.
Mr Lewis tweeted to apologise to Ofgem staff for "losing my rag" on a call to discuss a planned overhaul of price cap rules.
Under new rules being drawn up by the regulator, bills could rise and fall four times a year, instead of twice as they do currently. But Mr Lewis told Ofgem that it had sold consumers "down the river".
He tweeted: "I lost it when getting a briefing about today's proposals, where it feels like at every turn, in these desperate times where lives are at risk, it has ignored all asks for consumers and instead kowtowed to the industry (I hope history proves me wrong)."
Mr Lewis said he feared "dire consequences for consumers", arguing that "we must do more to make things better than them".
National Energy Action, which campaigns to prevent fuel poverty, said the changes couls “cause further immense financial strain”.
Peter Smith. director of policy at NE, said: “This change has hte aggregate impact of reducing protections for fuel-poor households.”
It came as government minister Racheal Maclean provoked anger on Monday by suggesting that people struggling in Britain's cost of living crisis should work more hours or get a better job. Last week, Conservative MP Lee Anderson suggested poor people used food banks because they don’t know how to cook or budget.
The energy price cap jumped 54 per cent in April, taking the bill for an average household to £1,971, with a further sharp rise expected in October. Energy prices have been the key driver of inflation which is forecast to spike to 10 per cent this winter, tightening the squeeze on families’ budgets.
On Monday, Ofgem unveiled proposals to review the cap every three months. However, the first price cap period under the new regime would be calcualted using the past six months of wholesale gas and electricity prices, which have seen record highs.
Ofgem said more frequent changes would reflect the most up-to-date energy prices – meaning customers would see the benefit sooner when prices fall.
Mr Lewis also warned that a so-called “market stabilization charge” would entrench the power of a small group of encumbent energy suppliers.
He added: “I finished the call by asking it to at least consider cutting standard charges, which huge rates stop people really saving by cutting energy use.”