The End Fuel Poverty Coalition, a broad coalition of anti-poverty, environmental, health and housing campaigners, charities, local authorities, trade unions and consumer organisations, has criticised the decision to increase fuel bills for an estimated 11m people:
At the last count, 3.7 million households were already classified as living in fuel poverty and more than 2.1 million more were behind on their fuel bills.
Any price cap rise will only make matters worse for families struggling to make ends meet at the same time as bills are rocketing due to stay at home lockdown measures and the closure of schools.
While the price cap rises may seem small to officials, for ordinary people any increase will mean the choice between heating or eating becomes even starker.
If that wasn’t bad enough, fuel poverty can make respiratory illnesses worse – meaning conditions such as Covid may be exacerbated by living in cold damp homes.
Short-term energy saving measures and shopping around for cheaper energy can help reduce bills, but the scale of the problem faced by people this year is huge and any increases during the pandemic should be avoided.
We’d urge Ofgem and policy makers to think again about the price cap rise, or the Government to step in and provide emergency financial support to those who suffer due to the decision.
Support for households who are in fuel poverty is available from organisations such as Citizens Advice and can be found in our resources section.