Soaring energy prices have resulted in 5.1 million UK homes being faced with fuel poverty, Consumer Focus and the Hills Review estimate.
According to recent reports, millions of pensioners are being forced to spend more than 10 per cent of their monthly household income to keep their homes “satisfactorily” heated.
The rise in energy prices has become a real concern in recent months as Scottish Power, British Gas, E. ON, Scottish and Southern Energy, and EDF have all hiked energy prices, resulting in a £161 average monthly household energy bill.
Energy prices have experienced a 10 per cent inflationary increase this year alone, and with poverty at an all-time high, many Britons, especially pensioners, are not able to afford to pay the surging energy prices.
“Many of our poorest pensioners, families and disabled people, put their health at risk by having to choose between heating their homes or putting food on the table this winter,” stated Audrey Gallacher, Consumer Focus’s director of energy.
She continued, “This is one of the most pressing and neglected concerns facing the government’s energy strategy. Recent energy price hikes have left fuel poverty levels soaring, with energy bills almost double what they were five years ago.”
The average annual energy bill for UK households is £1320, and this figure is slated to increase to £1465, creating a life or death issue for many British pensioners.
A survey conducted by Age UK found that 24,000 Britons die each year due to cold and six million pensioners are worried about rising heating costs. Of these, three million fear they won’t be able to keep themselves warm.
With every increase in energy prices, 20,000 pensioners join a growing number of Britons experiencing fuel poverty.
“Pensioners are forced to choose between heating and eating this winter,” said Caroline Flint, Shadow Energy Secretary.
Based upon the current figures, approximately 20 pensioners a day could die from cold as many cannot afford to keep their homes heated.
“Recent energy price hikes have left fuel poverty levels soaring, with energy bills almost double what they were five years ago. With around nine million people in England living in fuel poverty under the current measure, this has been a running sore for successive governments and we desperately need a coherent plan to address it,” said Gallacher.
Energy providers blame wholesale energy prices, higher network charges, and Government energy initiatives for energy inflation. However, according to Ofgem, wholesale energy prices only witnessed a 1.7 per cent inflation rate, resulting in only an additional £10 being tacked on to the average energy bill.