Fuel poverty is claiming thousands of lives each year, according to a report from Professor John Hills of the London School of Economics.
It’s a growing problem in the UK – and now, the research commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, shows that many are dying because they’re unable to heat their homes.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said: ‘We have even more deaths in winter than cold countries such as Sweden and Norway. That shows how far we have to go.’
Energy companies must respond
Which? has teamed up with The Sun to demand that energy companies do five things this winter to help their customers.
- All suppliers to commit to no further price rises until 1 August 2012.
- Suppliers to offer free insulation to all customers until 1 April 2012.
- Free boiler cover for the winter months (or for three months from December to February).
- Pay £120 to any elderly or vulnerable customer on an income of less than £16,000 a year.
- If people call up and ask for the cheapest deal, give them the cheapest deal.
Richard Lloyd said: ‘If companies don’t respond to these basic demands, then it will fuel consumer anger and confirm the opinion that many already have – that they’re not serious about doing everything they can to help people get through a tough winter.’
Affordable energy campaign
These measures should provide immediate help to those who need it this winter. In the meantime, Which? is campaigning for more affordable energy in the long term.
The first step involves getting Ofgem to tackle complicated energy tariffs so customers can see what they should be paying. A simple tariff system will also mean that low users – often the most vulnerable households – will not pay more per unit than high users, as they do at the moment.