15th May 2015
Millions of people experiencing fuel poverty have been cut off from their gas and electricity supply because they cannot afford to top-up their meters.
A total of 4.7 million people say they are regularly cut off from pre-paid electricity and another four million say they often can’t afford to top-up their gas meter.
According to Debt Advisory Centre a quarter of people were reliant on pre-paid meters in their homes because they have experienced problems paying their bills or need help to manage their energy spend.
Of the four million who struggle to put money on their gas meter key, 18% said they get cut off every few months and 7% lose their supply at least once a week. Those in the East Midlands are struggling the most, with 63% regularly unable to top-up their gas meters, and those in the West Midlands and East Midlands also have the highest rate of fuel poverty.
When it comes to electricity supply, of the 4.7 million who are regularly cut off, 15% admit to having it cut every few months and 6% are cut off at least once a week.
Melanie Taylor of Debt Advisory Centre said: ‘It’s alarming to see how many families are struggling with fuel poverty. As customers on pre-paid meters typically pay more each year for their energy, this means that often, the poorest and most vulnerable people are paying the highest prices.
‘We are concerned that energy bills will continue to rise in the future, plunging more people into fuel poverty.’
She added that more help should be given to people on pre-paid meters to switch to better deals.