It has been confirmed that the energy price cap is going to increase by a massive £693 on 1st April. This will result in average energy bills rising to around £2,000 per year, more than double the cost of the cheapest tariffs a year ago. This will potentially draw another 2 million households into fuel poverty, with more people than ever finding it difficult to heat their homes to a comfortable level and some facing the starkest of choices between heating or eating. In North Yorkshire there are over 40,000 households in fuel poverty and this is likely to rise significantly after 1st April.
Some of the knock-on impacts will be cold homes, damp, worries about bills and energy debts, all of which are known to exacerbate existing health conditions and cause new problems. For example:
Finally, there are indirect health risks from fuel poverty and stretched household budgets. For example, not getting appliances serviced or chimneys swept, using a hob or cooker for warmth, or blocking vents could all increase the exposure risk to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Advice available locally:
If you are worried about the rising prices and keeping warm, there are local organisations and support schemes to help. You could:
1) Access 1-2-1 advice around managing and reducing energy bills through organisations like ourselves.
2) Check your eligibility for an insulation grant through your local Council’s Home Upgrade Grant.
3) Check you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to – £15billion of benefits go unclaimed annually. Organisations like the Citizens Advice can help with this.
4) Check your eligibility for a reduced social tariff on your water bill or phone/broadband.
5) Sign-up to the Priority Services Register if there is a child under 5, pensioner or someone with a health condition or disability in the household. This will keep you safe if there is a powercut or the gas supply is interrupted.