Published on 21 July 2011 12:00 AM
Responding to the announcement from Scottish & Southern Energy that it is increasing its gas prices by 18 per cent and electricity prices by 11 per cent from 14 September, Victoria Lloyd – Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing says:
“This increase can only lead to further pressure for struggling consumers desperately trying to meet rising bills, particularly those living on fixed incomes, such as pensioners. Inevitably, it will tip increasing numbers of older people into fuel poverty.
“Fuel poverty already affects 320,000 households in Wales, those who need to spend 10 per cent or more of their income on fuel in order to maintain adequate heating. One of the key factors that influence whether someone will be living in fuel poverty is the cost of energy.
“The affordability of energy requires particular attention following rapid increases in fuel costs and several cold winters in a row. It is vital that the Welsh and Westminster governments work with Ofgem to ensure that customers are paying a fair price for gas and electricity.
“Under the present pricing regime energy companies appear to pass on price rises much quicker than they cut bills when the wholesale cost of fuel goes down. We also call for an end to price inequalities that penalise the poorest consumers who tend to use pre-payment meters or pay by cash or cheque.”