30/10/2013 20:11 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Cut the Big Six Energy Companies Down to Size, George

With almost eight in 10 people worried about rising energy costs and suppliers being hauled in front of MPs to justify their latest inflation-busting price hikes, Which? is calling on the Chancellor to stand up for consumers.

Four in 10 people have told us they can't reduce energy use any further as they have already cut down as much as they can. In addition, three in 10 say they don't know how they will heat their homes this winter.

Now, Which? has calculated that up to £1.8bn per year could be shaved off consumer costs.

In December, the chancellor has the opportunity to use his autumn statement to not only help hard pressed consumers this winter but to act on prices in the long term.

We want to see the Big Six cut down to size to inject more competition in to the energy market. With wholesale costs the biggest part of our rising energy bills, the wholesale market must be made more competitive to help keep prices in check. So we want the generating arms, the parts of the business that create the energy, separated from the supply end.

We also want an end to the blank cheque for suppliers' delivery of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) - the requirement on big energy companies to help the most vulnerable. We think nearly £200m a year could be saved if it was delivered more efficiently.

The government has said it is reviewing how green and social policies could be 'rolled back' ahead of the Autumn statement.

So we are also calling on the chancellor to cut the cost of government energy policies that we can't afford and control the costs being added to consumers' bills, while helping the same number of households as last year to make their homes better insulated.

By refocusing the ECO on cheaper, low cost measures like loft and cavity wall insulation we believe around the same number of houses could be helped and the government could still meet its carbon targets.

We want the carbon floor price scrapped, the £12bn smart meter roll out halted and the funding of the Warm Home Discount removed from consumers' bills.

When George Osborne stands up to deliver his autumn statement we need him to stand up for the millions of hard-pressed consumers who are grappling day-to-day with rising energy costs.

He must cut the Big Six companies and the cost of government energy policies down to size. Cut them down, George.