An estimated 3,000 winter deaths are caused every year by fuel poverty. More than 5.5 million households are suffering under fuel poverty, many being forced to choose between heating or eating. Research by Age UK last month found that two million elderly people are so cold that they go to bed when they're not tired in an attempt to keep energy bills down. More than two-fifths of people surveyed admitted to turning their heating down even when cold.
Meanwhile the Big Six energy suppliers increased their profit margins by 733 per cent in just three months last year, from £15 to £125 per household. Average household bills have doubled in the past six years from around £600 a year in 2006 to more than £1,200 a year now. In the first six months of 2011 alone the Big Six energy companies posted profits of around £3.5bn. According to research from uSwitch, £1,500 a year on energy is the tipping point at which three-quarters of households will start rationing their energy, three-fifths will go without adequate heating and more than a third will be forced to turn their heating off entirely.