DISABLED people are at high risk as millions of households across the UK are hit by the fuel poverty crisis.
Fuel poverty is defined as homes spending more than 10% of total income on energy. Low income, high fuel prices and poor energy efficiency are the key causes.
According to fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, an estimated 8.2 million households will suffer from fuel poverty this winter.
NEA Chief Executive Adam Scorer said: “Energy bills are already unaffordable for millions, and millions more are set to suffer.”
One pensioner has said the government’s plan to help the vulnerable isn’t enough.
Karen, 72, from Bristol, said: “The energy help isn’t a gift, we have to pay it back eventually.”
A Clyde Insider survey on Facebook asked if people are suffering from fuel poverty, if they know someone dealing with fuel poverty, if they feel the government are doing enough to help and, if not, how they believe the government could help.
The survey revealed that 85% knew someone suffering from fuel poverty, while 69% have been personally affected by it.
All participants believe the government is not doing enough to help tackle the crisis and believe there should be further taxes on the rich and banks, plus a new cap on energy prices.
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) is a UK based organisation for disabled people and allies to campaign against government cuts.
Members of DPAC have spoken out about how the ongoing fuel poverty crisis has affected their lives.
Phil, 46, from southeast London, falls under the fuel poverty line. Last year he was paying around £60 per month for both his gas and electric, but has now seen a 75% increase for these bills.
Phil said: “I’m asthmatic. I’m sitting indoors worried about even putting the heating on which isn’t good for my health.
“I was reliant on the energy price guarantee which was originally for two years, but now we’re being told it’s only till April and they’re not saying what’ll happen come April.
“They’ve also changed the warm home discount scheme which I used to get, but I don’t know if I’m eligible anymore because they’re saying you have to have higher energy usage but not how high.”
“Now I’ve got to wait for a letter from the DWP to see if I’m entitled to it or not.”
Karen, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, has faced similar issues. In October her energy bills cost around £87 but has said she had to go through her energy usage with a “fine-toothed comb” to cut her spending down.
She said: “I could heat the house all of last year, but I don’t want to go into fuel debt this year. So, I generate my own bill each month which my supplier isn’t particularly happy about as they want to bill me every 6 months.”
“I’m worried about the 73% price increase next year, although I hit all the boxes for assistance, I have no guarantee that I’ll have the same support next year.”
Meanwhile, Matt, 47, who has a rare form of metaphyseal dysplasia, has been facing issues with his pre-paid meter on top of the rising costs.
Matt has recently found that when he puts money into his meter at least £4 is being taken off leaving him with less money to heat his house. He is currently not putting his heating on at all.
He said: “I’ve never really had any money but it’s so much worse now.
“I’ve cut back on everything you’ve got to make sure you’ve got money for gas and electric, with fuel poverty I can only assume it’ll get worse and worse.
“The government has talked about how they aim to help the vulnerable like pensioners. Or how they want to help business grow and invest but don’t mention anything about helping
“I think most people are just sort of living day to day, you can’t plan, you can’t budget.
“It feels like we’ve been put at the back of the list.”
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been contacted.