At least 5,000 more households will be pushed into fuel poverty in October, say campaigners

At least 5,000 more households will be pushed into fuel poverty in October, say campaigners
At least 5,000 more households will be pushed into fuel poverty in October, say campaigners

As energy prices soar, the number of households in fuel poverty in West Oxfordshire will go up to at least 18 per cent in October, according to a campaign group.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition, made up of over 60 anti-poverty, environmental and health campaigners, local authorities, trade unions and consumer organisations, including Oxford City Council, calculated how many household would be pushed into fuel poverty into each area.

Simon Francis, co-ordinator, said: "In 2020, it was 3,446 in West Oxfordshire - 7.3 per cent, using the Government's own figures.

"We predict that the number from October 1 2022 will be at least 8,356 - 17.8 per cent."

But he added: "This forecast was calculated at the start of the summer using a price cap number well below what is now being predicted. We will be updating all regional stats once Ofgem confirm their price cap in August, but these figures are likely to be very much an underestimate."

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In general a household is in fuel poverty if once they pay their energy bills they are left with a residual income below the official poverty line.

Predictions of rising prices have been becoming more dire because the price of gas and electricity on wholesale markets keeps going up.

The worst yet came from experts at energy consultancy Auxilione who predicted that the price cap on energy bills could reach £3,628 in October, from £1,971 today.

It could then rise again to £4,538 in January and peak at £5,277 in April.

Judy Anders of Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire said: "More and more people are asking for energy advice, and many needing extra support to buy food. This is so worrying considering we have not hit the cold months yet."

She said West Oxfordshire follows a similar pattern to what Citizens Advice are seeing across the country.

Record numbers are seeking advice - people who need to rely on food banks, people who need advice on their energy bills and people who just can’t afford to use energy at all.

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In each, Citizens Advice either exceeded or are on course to exceed demand for the previous three years.

By the end of June, they had already seen more people who couldn’t afford to top up their prepayment meter than in 2019, 2020 or 2021.

Energy debts have replaced council tax arrears as the top debt issue people need help with.

However, they said it was "very welcome that the Government has put into place a £400 discount off everyone’s bills, and additional targeted support for people on the lowest incomes".

Better Housing Better Health service provides free local telephone support.

It is working to reduce and prevent the number of people in fuel poverty, and so improve health and well-being. It is coordinated by the National Energy Foundation and is a network of many other health and social care-orientated organisations.

Last year it helped nearly 750 residents and found a total of £36,000 that people had missed out on.

Call the helpline on 0800 107 0044 or see the OCC, West Oxfordshire District Council or BHBH website.



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