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More than 28 million people could face fuel poverty this winter

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As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, 42% of households across the UK may be unable to afford to heat their homes in January, according to analysis by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

Following the introduction of the energy price cap rise on 1 October to £3,549, End Fuel Poverty Coalition’s estimates show that 21 million people from around 9 million homes will be affected this winter.

The figures are set to grow to around 28 million people from January 2023, when a new energy price cap comes in. Unless the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is resolved, it is widely expected that the next price cap will be even higher as a result of soaring wholesale energy prices.

This would mean that 42% of UK households, or rather 12 million households, are not able to heat their homes to an adequate temperature during the winter. With this in mind, the campaign group is calling on the government to take urgent action.

Petition calls for government action

These figures follow the launch of the Warm This Winter petition, which is calling for immediate government action following the announcement of an 80% rise in Ofgem’s energy price cap last Friday. This has been driven by soaring wholesale energy prices because Russia has deliberately restricted oil and gas supplies to Europe and the UK over the past six months following its invasion of Ukraine.

Ruth London of Fuel Poverty Action, another campaign group, believes the current pricing framework is upside down, as the poorest customers pay the highest prices. They are proposing a reversal, which would see each household receive enough energy to cover their basic needs, paid for by higher prices for those who use energy excessively.

“Energy producers and suppliers are making record profits from putting up prices to a level that millions will struggle to pay,” London explained.

“The result will be many thousands of deaths in cold damp homes, widespread health crises, cold and hungry children unable to play or do homework, and older people who can’t be discharged from hospital because their homes are not fit to live in.”