Fuel poverty hits

A year of two price hikes has piled £2.24 billion on household energy bills, with an estimated 840,000 households in fuel poverty so says price comparison site uSwitch.com.

£1,293 is how much the average annual fuel bill is, up from £1,069. All of the six major energy companies have raised their prices this year, with EDF most recently announcing its second price hike of the year.

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: 'Last winter over three quarters of people rationed their energy use because of cost, while over 14 million households went without heating at some point to keep their energy costs down.

'We are in danger of seeing energy becoming an unaffordable luxury for the few instead of a household basic for the many. As a result many households are being forced to make unpalatable and sometimes even dangerous choices. My concern is that the impact will really become apparent this coming winter.

'We cannot underestimate the effect that higher household energy prices will have on consumers - for many it will involve a complete shift in attitude and behaviour. People need to adjust quickly and there are two key steps to this - making sure we pay the lowest possible price for our energy and learning to use less of it by becoming energy efficient rather than energy deficient, which could put your health and well-being at risk.'

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