Energy Action Scotland – the national charity which aims to combat fuel poverty – has warned that the inflation-busting energy price-rises by Npower has ‘set alarm bells ringing’ for many people already struggling to afford their fuel bills.
Npower is to increase electricity and gas prices for customers next month by up to 15 per cent – and some other energy companies have already said they also expect to increase prices this spring.
Energy Action Scotland fears that the news will push up the number of households in fuel poverty, meaning they can’t afford to heat and power their homes.
People on lower incomes or who have high energy use due, for example, to health needs will be especially at risk.
In the year when the Scottish Government is reviewing its plans on how to tackle fuel poverty and the UK Government is reshaping its energy efficiency obligations on suppliers, these energy price rises will highlight the vital importance of focusing on all main causes of fuel poverty and on mitigating the effects of the price increases.
Elizabeth Gore, Deputy Director, Energy Action Scotland, said: “Large energy prices increases such as these will cause fear amongst many people struggling to make ends meet that they will have to turn down their heating or even go without heating.
“These prices rises show the importance of making sure support is in place for customers who are vulnerable such as the Warm Home Discount and the Winter Fuel Payment. They can make all the difference to people who are on lower incomes to prevent them having to go without heating or power at home.
“We’d encourage all energy customers to shop around for the best deal and to take up any grants to make their homes more energy efficient, as well as getting advice on how best to use home energy wisely.”