Energy bills on the up leaving bills unaffordable.

Energy bills on the up leaving bills unaffordable.

Due to the increase of energy prices in today's economic state, households are struggling to keep up with their energy bills. Figures and percentages have revealed bills to have soared in recent years, with on average a fifty percent difference between 2009 and 2004/5 as figures show income spent on gas and electricity was 14%, than in 2004/2005 where only 8% was spent. Increases on prices are described as ‘scandalous' putting more strain on family budget , and is a cry for help to the UK government , who need to do more with their power to aid those in energy poverty.

Mr Hepburn from Citizens Advice Scotland said: "These hikes are hitting already under pressure households, many people paying bills have already reached the maximum value of what they can afford." the pressure from power companies and price rises is already being felt by households."The UK Government needs to re-evaluate the energy market and start helping those in fuel poverty."
Figures have oscillated between 4% and 7% since 1999 for gas and electricity with 7% of earnings was used up on gas and 7% on electricity, showing a stable rise earlier. The quantity of income spent on fuel had earlier mounted from 11% in 1996 to 13% in 2003-4, and then decreased again to a low 8%.

Lucy McTernan, chief executive said: "we see the real human misery that exists behind these statistics."Indeed we feel the problem is, statistics revealed today if anything are under-estimated by the."Gas and electricity bills have risen significantly since 2009 yet substantially higher in the last few months; people who are struggling financially face a difficult choice when faced with these high fuel bills."They either skip meals in order to pay the fuel bill instead. "The government had cut the fuel poverty budget by a third last year and urged the calls to reinstate it. Shadow Finance Secretary Richard Baker said: "Soaring fuel prices effect every household, but they have an inconsistent effect on those who are on the lowest incomes."It is our sense of duty to assist the poorest and the majority of vulnerable people, who will be hit hardest by price boost, in these tough times."The real scandal that seems to have conveniently forgotten is that it was the government that reduced the fuel poverty budget by a third."

Watchdog reporters claim that Cardiff homes have the highest energy bills, with Leeds and Manchester have the cheapest bills as Cardiff customers are paying £1,073 on direct debit and £1,175 on prepayment meters. Reports by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) explained that the cost of gas and electricity show a discrepancy due to differing network costs.

Customers have questioned if prices were reasonable, which discovered by DECC's quarterly energy prices report showed Cardiff households pay an average of £428 a year on electricity and £645 for gas with on average, £459 on electricity and £716 on gas on prepayment meters, on the other hand Leeds has the lowest energy bills collectively in the UK, whereas bills in other areas are up to £71 higher per year.
The statistics are based on an annual gas consumption of 18,000 kWh and electricity consumption of 3,300 kWh. Liz Withers, head of policy at Consumer Focus Wales, said: "These findings are of a major concern for thousands of vulnerable people across Wales."Currently, there are 61,000 homes in Wales living in severe fuel poverty, spending £1 in every £5 on keeping their home warm.

"In recent years the cost of heating homes during the winter months has seen extensive increases, and the devastating shock that can have on household budgets. People shouldn't have to choose between whether to eat or heat but many do, with all but one of the big six suppliers so far raising their energy prices between 10 and 20%, an extra 90,000 households in Wales will find themselves in fuel poverty this winter. Therefore consumers simply don't trust that energy companies have customers' interests at heart as wholesale costs have gone up yet are still a third lower than their 2008 peak.

Energy firms are accused of being guilty of greedy and lazy behaviour, Ofgem stated that they are perplexing customers and exploiting structural weaknesses in the market, however A DECC spokesman said: "Energy prices do vary regionally: network costs, which account for 24% of the average gas bill and 21% of the average business electricity bill, include the cost of building, maintaining and functioning the local gas pipes and electricity wires and the high pressure gas and high voltage transmission networks which deliver energy directly to your home.

"Suppliers are charged for this service and convey costs to the consumer which varies according to region, therefore the costs to the consumer will depend upon the area in which they live with Ofgem setting price boundaries which limit the total amount of revenue that distribution and transmission companies can earn meaning the best value for customers, potentially saving consumers £1billion over the next ten years,"

 


 

4th September, 2011

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