Charities have warned that millions of Brits will face a “public health crisis” this winter due to high energy bills, despite the government’s £150bn package to cut costs.
Anti-poverty groups on Friday asked for additional state aid, saying there was already evidence that some families are cutting back on the quantity and quality of food they buy to pay gas and electricity bills, which will be nearly double the level they had. for 2021.
Energy analysts said there were also early signs of a decline in energy demand as households and businesses “self-ration” in response to higher prices.
A typical annual household energy bill will rise to £2,500 from 1 October, from £1,971 at the moment, although the exact amount will depend on usage.
Prime Minister Liz Truss announced an unprecedented bailout package this month to ensure average domestic bills remain around that level for the next two years. Households will also receive an additional € 400 deduction this winter.
But charities warned that around 6.7 million, or more than a fifth of British households, would still be fuel deprived this winter, compared to 4.5 million a year earlier, given the price hikes.
The energy price cap, which dictates the bills for 24 million households, was about £1,277 last winter based on normal use.
Adam Scorer, chief executive of the National Energy Action charity, said the rise in energy bills was “impossible for millions”, with people “already cutting back on the quality of what they eat, as well as the quantity”.
“The impact on health and wellbeing is devastating and will only get worse after Saturday’s price hikes. It is a public health emergency,” he added.
A YouGov survey of more than 4,000 households published Friday by the NEA found that 24 percent of parents had reduced the amount of food they bought. One in ten said they ate cold meals to reduce energy expenditure.
Laura Sandys, president and founder of the charity the Food Foundation, said the circumstances mean that “for many it may no longer be a matter of heating or eating” this winter.
“With the cost of living and rising energy bills, children will live in homes where there is no longer that choice – they will be both hungry and cold,” she added.
Both Scorer and Sandys urged the government to step up support for low-income households. NEA and energy companies like ScottishPower have long argued for a separate, subsidized “social” energy tariff for the poorest.
According to energy consultancy EnAppSys, electricity demand in the UK has fallen by 9 percent in recent months compared to the same period last year and by 8 percent compared to 2019.
truss was criticized on Thursday for telling BBC Radio Leeds that households’ “maximum” energy bill this winter would be £2,500.
The government’s energy support scheme limits the price per unit of electricity and gas charged to households from October 1 to around 34p per kilowatt hour (kWh) for electricity and 10.3 per kWh for gas, including VAT. But a household’s total bill depends on usage.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.