fuel bills are leading to acute power rationing among many families as one in
four say they are skipping meals to meet fuel costs. The "heat or
eat" dilemma is becoming one of the most toxic issues for the coalition as
it battles to convince the public it is on their side when it comes to curbing
the power of the energy giants.
new poll of 2,000 people by Onepoll for Ovo Energy reveals that over a third of
homes are rationing power. The energy company claims inflation-busting rises of
up to 12% have left 70% of British homes forced to limit their power
consumption. There are concerns more families are at an increased risk of
becoming ill as a result of switching off their heating.
research suggests one in ten families have already defaulted on their energy
bills, while a further 14.5% claim they will be unable to pay this winter. Over
a fifth of families have even begun wearing outdoor clothing such as hats,
coats and scarves indoors to keep warm, along with over a quarter who drape
themselves in blankets to avoid turning on the heating.
latest figures show the average dual fuel power bill has now hit a record
£1,318 prompting families to cut back. A quarter – 23.7% – of the 2,000 people
polled said they had been forced to ration food in order to meet the costs of
their energy bills. And almost one in 10 admitted they could no longer afford
to buy Christmas gifts for their family.
in 13 people said they had begun to get into debt to meet their energy bills,
with no long-term plan to pay it back.
collected by the Citizens Advice Bureau claim 38% of people would cut back on
food shopping to pay for other household bills.
or eat is a very real question for many of our clients," CAB chief
executive Gillian Guy said. "We have serious concerns about the impact
that this will have on people on low incomes. Citizens Advice saw over 95,000
fuel debt problems last year and we regularly hear stories of people only
heating one room or parents only heating their house when their children are
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