What crisis? Energy bill watchdogs can work just ONE day a week in office while Britain faces record high gas and electricity prices

  • Staff at Ofgem are now able to use ‘hybrid working policy’ to work more flexibly 
  • The new policy comes as the UK faces record high and gas electricity prices 
  • Ofgem, which has 1,200 staff, allowed them to work from home in the pandemic 

Regulators supposed to be tackling the UK’s biggest-ever energy crisis have to show up at their offices only one day a week.

As the UK faces record high gas and electricity prices – and potential blackouts – staff at the energy watchdog Ofgem are working from home for the majority of the week as they shift to what they call a ‘hybrid working policy’.

The policy, dated March 29, reads: ‘Colleagues will be required to work 1-2 days each week within their designated office.’ Three days later Ofgem’s new higher price cap kicked in, causing alarm as typical bills rose 54 per cent to almost £2,000 a year. Bills increased again at the start of this month.

As the UK faces record high gas and electricity prices – and potential blackouts – staff at the energy watchdog Ofgem are working from home for the majority of the week as they shift to what they call a ‘hybrid working policy’

There are fresh concerns that bills will rise above £4,000 a year in May after the Government last week removed a promise to limit them to £2,500 for typical families.

Ofgem, which has 1,200 employees, allowed staff to begin working from home during the pandemic, but when the UK’s energy market almost collapsed as a string of energy providers went bust between August and December last year, it led to accusations of them being asleep at the wheel.

Joe Ventre, from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for empty desks. Ofgem staff may want to work from home, but there can be no excuse for poor performance during a devastating energy crisis. The regulator must ensure that objectives are being met for the sake of hard-pressed households.’

The Mail on Sunday obtained the internal Ofgem documents outlining the new ‘hybrid working’ situation via a Freedom of Information request.

Ofgem’s staff meetings are now typically conducted online, meaning there are far fewer staff making their way into its offices in East London and Glasgow. Staff have also been told that Ofgem will foot the bill for their desks, chairs and computers at home.

Employees will no longer have a set desk at their office and will have to book one in advance, as well as clear it completely when their shift ends.

Employees will no longer have a set desk at their office and will have to book one in advance

The policy, Ofgem says, lets parents do school runs and allows employees with religious beliefs to have alternate working patterns, as well as helping staff who are part-time carers.

The customers of bankrupted energy firms have had to be shifted to other providers and the debts then piled on to the bills of every household. The total cost of more than £5 billion has added at least £200 to every bill.

An Ofgem spokesman said last night: ‘Our staff continue to work relentlessly to protect customers during these very difficult times, and it’s clear they can do just as well regardless of their location.’

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