Thousands in Welwyn Hatfield caught in fuel poverty trap
NEARLY 5,500 households in Welwyn Hatfield have been left in fuel poverty this winter due to soaring energy bills. The figures, just released by watchdog Consumer Focus, suggest 14.4 per cent of homes in the borough are suffering. A household is said to b
NEARLY 5,500 households in Welwyn Hatfield have been left in fuel poverty this winter due to soaring energy bills.
The figures, just released by watchdog Consumer Focus, suggest 14.4 per cent of homes in the borough are suffering.
A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it spends more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel.
It is thought that more than 5.5m people across the country have been affected.
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Welwyn Hatfield Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Paul Zukowskyj believes energy companies are to blame and said: "Over the last five years, average gas and electricity bills have more than doubled.
"Prices being paid by energy companies for fuel on the wholesale markets are coming down, but the companies aren't passing on cuts to customers.
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"Meanwhile they are making big profits. This is totally unacceptable."
"We've job losses in the area, food prices are still extremely high and our local councils have been hiking up council tax year-on-year.
"It's no surprise an increasing number of people are being faced with the dreadful choice between heating and eating."
But Mr Zukowskyj said there was some light at the end of the tunnel.
A Fuel Poverty Bill currently passing through Parliament would deliver a home insulation programme and stop those on pre-pay meters paying higher rates for their energy.
A spokeswoman for the Energy Retail Association, which represents the interests of UK utility companies, said: "Energy companies have committed to spend �4bn over the next three years on energy efficiency measures, social tariffs, winter rebates and trust funds to help their fuel poor customers.
"No other industry provides as much direct help to its customers.