It is the biggest energy crisis for decades, with experts warning that people may freeze to death this winter and many will turn off their heating altogether.
But Liz Truss’s leadership campaign has barely reacted to the news that bills will have almost tripled in a year, beyond the vague promise of help to come.
Her strategy seems to be holding her nerve until she gets into power, with aides arguing it would not be right to set out plans to help people without seeing the details.
But even some of Truss’s supporters are getting nervous. “What more does she need to see?” says one MP backing her. “Ofgem has published the figures. We can see how bad it’s going to be.”
With Truss tight-lipped, it is obvious the current incumbents of No 10 and No 11 are itching to say more, despite having promised not to interfere and make policies in the interregnum.
The outgoing prime minister, Boris Johnson, said there would “plainly” have to be cash help for households.
And the outgoing chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, popped up to say people should cut their energy use but without saying how or by how much.
In contrast, his probable replacement, Kwasi Kwarteng, does not think that is necessary or helpful.
Opposition leaders are always accusing governments of being “missing in action” but it felt unusually apt on Friday, as no minister or supporter of Truss was available on the early broadcast round to reassure people about how their families and businesses would be able to pay their energy bills.
The absence of a public, coordinated plan for the Conservatives to promote on the airwaves as a consensus response is getting painful for the party’s backbenchers, who are getting bombarded with anxious emails from constituents and businesses.
Some have resorted to making their own policy demands, with one Tory MP, Ben Everitt, calling for direct support for businesses as happened during the pandemic.
All the while, Keir Starmer is gaining traction with his plan for a price freeze. Regardless of any claims that it is underfunded, it is a coherent and understandable response to a problem that is causing deep worry for many people.
Truss and her advisers will have calculated that she will look more in control if she announces an energy plan from the steps of Downing Street. But jittery MPs in her party are beginning to worry that Truss cannot afford this delay in revealing her energy plan – if she has one yet.