‘Can I afford this?’ Elderly couple face fuel poverty as energy crisis worsens

Martin Lewis explains how to reduce your energy bills

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Due to the global surge in demand for essential fuels following the economic turmoil resulting from the pandemic, households have seen their energy bills surge dramatically in recent months. Most at risk of falling into fuel poverty are pensioners, with Age UK estimating that over 150,000 elderly households are expected to be hit hardest in the coming months.One of the people already suffering from inflated energy costs is Pete, 75, and his wife Sue from Wiltshire, who are struggling to pay their energy bill despite additional support from the Government.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, the retiree said: “It’s been going on for some time now because the price of gas and electricity has gone up. I’m also getting older so I do feel the cold.

“I have an illness called Buerger’s disease which affects the peripheral extremities and it makes me very cold so I turn the heating on a little bit more.

“Every time you turn up the heating I think, ‘Can I afford to do this all the time?’

“Now I’m also losing my vision, so I’ve got the lights on even when it’s daylight because I just can’t seem to read or do anything like that.

“Things start to mount up. We get the £140 discount from our energy supplier which is brilliant.

“Like most other pensioners, you think about what you’re spending your money on. I’ve learned it’s about what you can afford, not what you need. This has been the case for at least six years.”

The £140 reduction on their energy bill comes from the Warm Home Discount scheme which many energy suppliers are signed up for.

However, with various high profile suppliers falling into administration, households who get the discount via the “broader group ” are struggling to access crucial concessions such as the Warm Home Discount.

On top of this, Pete believes current support from energy suppliers and the Government only do so much to help people make ends meet. Due to his illness, Pete is only in receipt of disability benefits.

He added: “It just brushes the surface. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining but as we have got older, our money’s not going where it used to.

“The Government has told us to stay indoors but if you stay indoors your heating is going to be on all day, especially in the pandemic.

“Our heating bill went up tremendously. What we were used to paying monthly didn’t match what we actually had to pay, it’s just gone up and up.”

“Our bill has gone up again this year to about £110 to 120 a month.”

Due to this, Pete and his wife have reached out to organisations for help in coping with the extra financial demands brought on by the energy crisis.

One of these organisations is UK Community Foundations, which is a national network of 47 community foundations across the country.

Through their local foundation, Pete and Sue have been able to get advice on navigating the tricky environment posed by the current bill crisis.

The charity has recently launched a ‘Surviving Winter’ campaign to help vulnerable people survive the coming months, including those on the state pension.

This campaign specifically targets supporting projects which aim to tackle issues relating to fuel poverty among pensioners.

According to its website, these projects ideally prevent “older people from becoming isolated during the winter months” and support their “wellbeing and promote social cohesion” during this time.

Source: Read Full Article