Philippe Commaret, EDF’s managing director for customers, told BBC Radio 4: “We face, despite the support the Government has already announced, a dramatic and catastrophic winter for our customers.”
“In January, half of the UK households might be in fuel poverty.”
Energy poverty is defined as spending over 10% of income on gas and electricity bills.
Commaret is calling on the Government to offer more support to households after the most recent predictions from Cornwall Insight showed that energy bills are on track to top £5,300 per year in April.
On Friday, regulator Ofgem will confirm the price cap for October.
“Fuel stress”, or “fuel poverty”, is a term used when at least 10% of a household’s budget is spent on energy bills, indicating that energy costs are unaffordable.
New research by the Resolution Foundation released on Monday suggests that, while fuel stress is currently at 9%, it is expected to jump to 27% due to the energy price cap rising by more than 50% on the back of rising fuel prices.
In the North East of England and the West Midlands, levels of fuel stress are expected to be the highest at 33% and 32% respectively. Levels of fuel stress in pensioner households are expected to hit 38%, and 35% among those living in local authority housing.
On 7 February, Ofgem will announce the new price cap level, which is expected to be increased to around £2,000.
The Resolution Foundation has called on ministers to do more to support lower-income families through the benefits system. Alternatively, the foundation recommended that an additional payment based on the Warm Homes Discount Scheme (WHD) could be pursued.