Press releases

Press Release. Shared Warmth: Not for all.
Trade body ADE established a Task Force last year to consider new proposals and principles for the District Heating industry.(i)  Their report Shared Warmth | A heat network market that benefits customers, investors, and the environment, came out today.(ii)
 

The Task Force of stakeholders acknowledged the need for regulation of the industry, since heat networks are monopolies, which “can lead to unreliable service, . . . poorly controlled and costly heating and . . . poor customer service”.

They recognised that for the industry to grow, “customers need to have a consistently good experience, fair and transparent pricing, and an assurance that when things do go wrong they will receive effective and fair redress.”

Yet they limited the scope of their recommendations to principles for future networks.  There are already some 17,000 heat networks in the UK, and while many function well, there are thousands of households in networks built over the past decade with private capital, where dysfunctional and unaffordable heating has made life a misery.(ii)

District Heating users were not invited to be part of the Task Force, but with Fuel Poverty Action a group of them, from four estates, brought their harsh experience to ADE director Tim Rotheray, in December.  They were thanked for their time, and told that their information would be helpful for the future, but that in their own situation nothing could be done.

Residents on such housing estates hope for the best for new developments, but as one says, “Whilst I appreciate many DH customers are reported as happy, that doesn’t mean we should be ignored, brushed to one side or forgotten.”

The nationwide survey “Heat Networks Consumer Survey” conducted by BEIS and published in December found that three quarters of heat network users are satisfied with their heating.  Fuel Poverty Action maintains that if, as claimed,  problematic networks are a minority, and standards are now improving, the industry as a whole bears a collective responsibility to bring all existing heat networks up to standard.  Ruth London comments:

Experience has shown that with expert intervention tariffs can be halved, and reliability greatly improved.  An industry-wide rescue plan for failing schemes would provide the consistency and certainty that the ADE Task Force says is essential for industry growth.  It would also ensure that the human guinea pigs in failed District Heating experiments get the redress they so desperately need, to keep warm.

The report’s only recommendation fo existing heat network customers is that a regulator should “eventually widen the scope” of a Supplier of Last Resort, to “include all heat networks”. The Supplier of Last Resort would step in when a heat network fails.  FPA believes that this basic protection, normal for essential services like energy or heat, should be extended to all immediately, and should apply when a network fails to fulfil its obligations to customers at an acceptable standard, as well as if it fails to meet its financial obligations.

 Ends.

(i)                  District Heating – like central heating for neighbourhoods, supplies heat to homes from a communal source, replacing gas boilers.  There are now about 17,000 such heat networks, but this is to expand massively in the next decade, with the help of £320 million of government money.  The industry is currently unregulated.

(ii)                https://www.theade.co.uk/resources/publications/shared-warmth-a-heat-network-market-that-benefits-customers-investors-and-t

(iii)               See for example our report of the network on Myatts Field North, in Lambeth here, and numerous  reports by Which? and Citizens Advice.

 
Fuel poverty campaigners challenge British Gas over break-ins, overcharging at AGM

Centrica Board asked why preventing winter deaths not part of performance-related pay, following chairman’s £3 million pay award

Video footage available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpz-ApKgwsM
Fuel Poverty Action campaigners have demanded British Gas pay compensation to millions of customers overcharged following the drop in wholesale energy costs, and put an end to ‘break-ins’ for the forced installation of pre-payment meters, at the AGM of parent company Centrica in Westminster today. (1)
In heated exchanges, the campaigners asked the Board to account for British Gas’s share of the £2.5 billion in overcharging found by the Competition and Market Authority in March (2), and of the estimated 15,000 winter deaths caused by cold homes in 2015 (3). Claiming to ‘dispute those figures’, the Chairman acknowledged the seriousness of the issue of fuel poverty and admitted that the company has 2.5 million customers on pre-payment meters. According to the CMA report, pre-payment meter users are charged an extra £260-£330 each per year compared to direct debit customers, well above the estimated £54 additional cost to the company of supplying through a prepayment meter.(4)
The campaigners also read out testimony from a disabled customer who had had a pre-payment meter forcibly installed, in contravention of Ofgem rules, as part of a letter delivered during the meeting to Chief Executive Iain Conn, who was awarded a £3 million pay package despite a percentage cut in the shareholder dividend (5). It follows a BBC Panorama investigation in March into the more than half a million forced installations of pre-payments meters since 2009. (6)
After stressing the performance-related aspect of the board’s executive pay award, as well as the firm’s supposed commitment to supporting customers in financial difficulties, Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite was asked why the company’s pay award was not linked to performance in the area of preventing winter deaths. He declined to comment.
Dan Goss of Fuel Poverty Action said:
“We went to Centrica’s AGM to challenge the people who run British Gas and to make them hear the stories of people on the sharp end of their predatory business model.
When we tried to deliver a letter to CEO Iain Conn, asking for compensation for the thousands of customers they systematically overcharge, we were shuffled away from the podium by security. We were made to stop filming. We directly asked the Chair how any executive could receive performance-related pay while customers, many having had prepayment meters forcibly installed, literally die of cold. They completely failed to respond, saying only that any such customers were a “minority” of the overall “numbers,” so aren’t cause for concern!
Then they hurried on the next question as quickly as possible. The Board refused to accept any responsibility for their policies which prioritise private profit over human lives, especially of the elderly, disabled and otherwise vulnerable.”
For more information, contact Fuel Poverty Action on 07751 748026 or [email protected]
Notes
1. Fuel Poverty Action campaigns against the injustice of cold homes by turning up the heat on rip-off energy companies and the politicians in their pockets. We take action for warm, well insulated homes and clean and affordable energy, under the control of people and communities, not private companies. See https://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk

  1. Competition and Markets Authority, ‘Energy market investigation’, March 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/506949/Energy_PDR_Summary_March_2016.pdf.
  2. The ONS estimates there were 43,700 excess winter deaths in 2014/15: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/201415provisionaland201314final. The World Health Organisation estimates that between 30 and 50 percent of excess winter deaths are attributable to cold homes: http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-publish/abstracts/environmental-burden-of-disease-associated-with-inadequate-housing.-summary-report
  3. CMA, March 2016, paragraph 41.
  4. For the letter see https://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/quote/letter-to-british-gas-compensation/
  5. ‘Too Poor To Stay Warm’, BBC Panorama, broadcast on Monday 21 March 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0756g0x. In May 2015 BBC Radio 5 Live found that half a million pre-payment meters have been forcibly installed since 2009: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32876422

 
Press Release: British Gas to be told to ‘pay compensation for overcharging’ at AGM
Campaigners will demand an end to ‘break-ins’ to install pre-payment meters
Fuel Poverty Action
07751748026
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
Fuel Poverty Action campaigners will attend the Centrica AGM tomorrow to demand compensation for customers they say have suffered from British Gas extortion and bullying, beginning with people who have been forced onto pre-payment meters and then charged hundreds of pounds more than a fair price.
Shareholders plan to ask the Board to state British Gas’s share of the £2.5 billion that the Competition and Marketing Authority found energy companies overcharged their customers last year, in particular those on pre-payment meters who are generally the poorest and most vulnerable (1).
They will also call on the company to end the practice of ‘break-ins’ for the forced installation of pre-payment meters, often against the will of customers as well as Ofgem rules. The practice was recently exposed by the BBC’s Panorama programme (2).
Their demands will be backed up by a letter to CEO Iain Conn, who was paid £3 million in 2015, laying out what they call the company’s “predatory practices”, and quoting the first hand experiences of British Gas customers (3).
The AGM will take place at the Queen Elizabeth 2 Conference Centre, Westminster, from 11.00 a.m. on Monday 18 April.
One British Gas customer who contacted Fuel Poverty Action described her experience of forced pre-payment meter installation: 
“I was awoken today by two British Gas meter fitters. They had a warrant from the magistrates court to put a gas meter OUTSIDE
my bungalow. They could plainly see I could not walk well and that I had a walker and a crutch and a wheelchair. They started asking the neighbours if I could walk ok and telling them I how much I owed…. They left me screaming and crying and having an asthma attack. When the gas goes I will have no gas at all. I haven’t got a card to get any more and I can’t go outside to put any in or see if I have any credit, I have no idea how it works. Is there anything I can do. They have frauded the court because they never informed the judge that I was disabled and ill.”
Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action said: 
“After a year that saw record numbers of winter deaths, we have the spectacle of British Gas celebrating their latest bumper profits. British Gas is abusing its power to systematically extort money from a huge swathe of the population, and in particular the most vulnerable. As the litany of abuses uncovered by regulators and investigative journalists continues, we will be challenging British Gas to pay back the money they have taken by their predatory practices, money people need to keep warm and to eat.”
Notes for journalists
1. The CMA’s ‘Energy market investigation’ report in March 2016 found that pre-payment meter users were charged an extra £260-£330 each per year, compared to direct debit customers, well above the estimated £54 cost differential between the two payment methods. See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/506949/Energy_PDR_Summary_March_2016.pdf, paragraph 41.
2. ‘Too Poor To Stay Warm’, BBC Panorama, broadcast on Monday 21 March 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0756g0x
3. Read the full letter on our blog: https://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/quote/letter-to-british-gas-compensation/

Press Release: Lambeth pensioners, tenants and supporters plan to take action against Local Government Cuts by holding a “Warm-Up”  inside Brixton Tate Library. 
 
Fuel Poverty Action
07714 608 703
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
 
This Saturday 19 March 11.00am will see Lambeth pensioners, tenants and residents and supporters from around London “Get Warm and Get Informed” in Brixton Tate library.
 
The event will use pillows to highlight how many people are forced to spend large parts of the winter in bed – because their homes are too cold, and because of the closure of day centres, libraries, and other public centres and services where so many go to meet friends and keep warm. 
 
It will include a public Speak-Out, and information on people’s rights in relation to profit-hungry energy providers. 
 
The event is called by
FPA ( Fuel Poverty Action : [email protected]) (Ruth London 07714 608 703) 
LAMPAG (Lambeth Pensioners Action Group)  Ellen Lebethe 020 7582 5063
LOPA (Lambeth Older Peoples Alliance ) via Ellen Lebethe  020 7582 5063
MFS TRA (Myatts Field South Tenants and Residents Association) Lucy Williams 074404319287
   
Supporting organisations include:
Friends of Lambeth Libraries (Laura Swaffield  07914 491 145)
Lambeth Asian Centre (Amit Kataria 07507962464)
DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts)
ActivecareUK for Mental Health Well-Being (based in SW9)
WinVisible, women with visible and invisible disabilities
 
 
Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action says, “The principle of a Warm-Up is that if we can’t afford to heat our own homes, we have a right to make ourselves cosy in any warm building!  People everywhere are struggling to pay for fuel, while energy suppliers make record profits.   Whatever the season, we also have a right to get informed, and inform each other – speaking out together about consumers and tenants rights to avoid fuel poverty.  The last Warm-Up was in the House of Commons.  This tim e, the focus is on Lambeth Council, whose housing policies and cuts to life-saving public services are putting more and more people into debt or into bed.”
 
Lucy Williams of Myatts Field South estate Tenants and Residents Association (TRA)[1] says, “Our estate was built for communal heating which we’ve always had at a flat rate cost so people who are old, ill or disabled can have the heating they need and not join the thousands who die from the cold every year.  But now Lambeth is insisting on switching us to single boilers. Some residents who have the new boilers have complained that they’ve had to choose between heating and eating.  But many of us still have our communal heating and do not want to give it up.  We also want good insulation and solar water heating added so everyone on the estate can keep warm and still afford to eat.  Lambeth are for the second tim e serving injunctions on our tenants but we are determined.”    
 
Ellen Lebethe of Lambeth Pensioners Action Group and Lambeth Older Peoples Alliance says “Two million older people live in non decent, damp, poorly insulated, energy inefficient homes. As a result many contract cold related illnesses adding to the pressure on GP and NHS services. Tragically some succumb to the illnesses.[2] The problems of keeping warm and well are compounded by the fact that some of the day centres on which older people depend for warmth and wellness have closed or are under threat of closure due to Local Authority cuts to their funding.[3] Libraries to which they escape to keep informed and warm face the threat of transformation or closure.[4] There are more cuts to come which threaten to bring an early death to more of our number.  Lambeth Older Peoples Alliance was formed to prevent this.  And we will not retire to bed!”
 


[1] Myatts Field South estate, near Brixton, was cut off from a communal heating system when Myatts Field North estate’s “regeneration” was extended to a large new private development.   A communal system was installed in the South which the council now wants to decommission (see here).  Many other estates in Lambeth are now resisting “regeneration” or demolition.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
[2] 43,900 “excess winter deaths” in 2014-15, of which one third are conservatively es tim ated to be caused by cold homes.
 
[3] Examples of Lambeth services for older people so far affected by cuts include an Asian elders luncheon club, an over 60s club in Vauxhall Gardens, Waterloo Action Centre’s multi-lingual advice service, the Dial-a-Ride budget, and heating for Stockwell Community Resource Centre, threatened with being knocked down.  
 
[4] £180 million has been cut from the library service since 2010; now four of the borough’s 10 libraries are under threat of closure or being turned into library-gyms

 
 
 
Immediate Release – Comment: Fuel Poverty Action responds to CMA
Fuel Poverty Action
07782298065
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
Fuel Poverty Action’s Laura Hill says:
“Today’s announcement is a testimony to the stranglehold of the Big Six over this investigation. Extensive lobbying has resulted in these pathetic watered down recommendations which will have little impact on the majority of hard-pressed households who have spent the winter shivering in their home
 
The Big Six have broken into people’s homes to forcibly install prepayment meters, have locked social housing tenants into expensive 40-year contracts, force people to self-disconnect because they cannot afford to keep their meter topped up and have refused to lower prices after the recent price drops. This price cap will do nothing to protect these people.
 
This is a massive win for the Big Six and has once again shown our current, for-profit energy system is broken. Only an affordable, clean and public energy system will make a meaningful different to those affected by fuel poverty and energy debt. Nottingham Council’s Robin Hood Energy has already demonstrated this.”
 


 
Response to government appointment of Paul Massara and Lawrence Slade to Committee on Fuel Poverty
Fuel Poverty Action
07782298065
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction

  • Paul Massara and Lawrence Slade have been appointed members of the Committee on Fuel Poverty.[1]
  • Paul Massara served as Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Executive Office for Npower from November 2011 until November 2015.[1] During this time, Npower’s overall household gas prices increased approximately 10% and electricity price increased 16%.[2] Npower was fined £26 million for over-billing and customer service failures which took place between September 2013 and December 2014.[3]
  • Lawrence Slade is Chief Executive of Energy UK. Energy UK lobbies on behalf of the Big Six and has been described as “one strongest and well-argued lobbies there is”[1]. Energy UK lobbied against the energy price freeze proposed by Labour.[5]
  • The UK has one of the highest fuel poverty rates in Europe. 15,000 people died from fuel poverty in the winter of 2014/15

Laura Hill from Fuel Poverty Action says: 
“We are devastated to hear the people who were involved with driving up energy bills are now responsible for protecting the most vulnerable. These people’s careers have been built on making astronomical profits for the Big Six, they have very little interest in ending fuel poverty.
This is another sign the government are in bed with the Big Six and only really care about protecting the profits of these corporations. Every year thousands of people die from fuel poverty and millions more suffer, but nothing ever changes.
The solution: we need a mass home insulation programme and a move towards affordable, sustainable and democratically owned energy.
 
[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/committee-on-fuel-poverty/about/membership
 
[2]http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=13239290&privcapId=32951837
 
[3] Calculations using: http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/nov/19/energy-price-bills-increase-big-six-compare; http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/23/npower-announces-gas-price-cut-energy-bills;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25651983;
 
[4] http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/18/npower-ordered-to-pay-26m-for-customer-service-failures
 
[5] http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/06/energy-lobby-heat-on-labour
 
[6] http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/06/energy-lobby-heat-on-labour
 


 
Wednesday 25 November 2015
Campaign groups protest 43000 ‘excess’ winter deaths
 
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‘Excess Winter Deaths’ figures released today show there were 43900 preventable deaths in the winter of 2014/2015. The World Health Organisation estimates that at least one third of the deaths are caused by cold homes and fuel poverty, indicating more than 14,000 deaths from cold homes.
Campaign organisations Lambeth Pensioners’ Action Group and Fuel Poverty Action and others are holding a ‘Warm Up’ action in Westminster this morning to alert MPs to the UK’s cold home crisis, on the day that the Autumn statement is also made.Pensioners, single mothers, asylum seekers, disabled people, and social housing tenants will ‘cosy up’ in Parliament while they lobby their MPs.
It is expected that the government will also announce deep cuts to welfare, vital services and fuel poverty spending — such as social and environmental levies on bills, a cut for all renewable energy support and increased subsidies for nuclear energy, which threatens to double the price of electricity.
The campaign groups warn that welfare cuts will hit the poorest households, and in particular people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, who most need to keep warm.
Laura Hill of Fuel Poverty Action says,
‘This is a ‘good day to bury bad news’ with these shocking figures coming out on the same day as the Spending Review. We expect that the cuts and policies in the Review will condemn thousands more of the most vulnerable and fuel poor people in society to suffering, and death.
Spending on insulation and renewable energy would bring down fuel bills in the long term and would ensure warm and health homes for millions of fuel poor households- but the government shows no signs of taking this course of action.’
Ellen Lebethe of the Lambeth Pensioners Action Group says,
‘Pensioners dying of cold related illnesses is a national scandal. It is vital that the government responds the vicious cycle of rising bills and fuel poverty urgently. We have the right to warmth and health.’
Gill Thomson, whose brother ex-soldier David Clapson died when his benefits were sanctioned and he couldn’t afford to keep his prepayment meter topped up,
‘My brother, David Clapson, died because his benefits were sanctioned. They took away all his money and he couldn’t keep his insulin cold without electricity. It saddens me when we are constantly told how we are the 6th richest country in the world, and we know that due to the welfare cuts many have died, and many have and still are left hungry and destitute. The basics everyone needs are food, shelter and warmth, and they are taking that away from us. To leave people with nothing is inhumane.’
And Linda Burnip, Disabled People Against Cuts says,
‘As social security benefits are slashed and fuel prices continue to rise many disabled people are unable to heat their homes or are forced to choose between heating and eating which is unacceptable.’
Energy Campaigners blow whistle on Osborne’s assault on fuel poverty and climate
Monday November 9th
For Immediate Release
Information from a Treasury source reveals that planned cuts and restructuring of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will have devastating impacts on poor families and the environment.
The source revealed that Osborne’s plan to cut DECC’s funding as part of the Spending Review will slash the department’s remit to address fuel poverty and the climate transition. The source indicated that the shrunken DECC will focus almost solely on fracking, the Hinkely Point C nuclear plant and decommissioning expired power stations.
The news comes in the run-up to this year’s Winter Deaths figures – expected to reach a record high – and the Paris Climate talks.
Fuel poverty and climate campaigners condemned the planned restructuring of DECC as an ideological move by the government that will increase winter deaths.
As the government retreats from its plans to cut working tax credits, many of the same people now face a renewed attack on their wellbeing.
Laura Hill of Fuel Poverty Action said: “Osborne’s expected cuts will hit the poor hardest – it’s the poor and elderly that may die as a result of cold homes. Impoverished families should not be instrumentalised to sell off our future to dirty energy companies. Osborne doesn’t seem to care that he will have even more blood on his hands. His moves are ideological, cynical, and obscene, and will result in many more fuel poverty deaths”.
Winter Deaths, according to Association of the Conservation of Energy are expected to hit a record fifteen year high of 15,000 when announced later this month. [1]
Mika Minio-Paluello of Platform said “These cuts are a political attack on the fuel poor, on energy jobs and our climate future. Osborne is prioritising profits for fracking and nuclear companies, and sabotaging any chance of a joined up energy and climate policy that serves the rest of us. As staff are fired, DECC is being dumbed down. While people are freezing in cold homes and Global South countries demand climate action in Paris, Osborne is showing them the finger.”
Energy democracy campaigners argue that the UK government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 as stipulated in the Climate Act of 2008 will fail if cuts to DECC energy saving and decarbonisation budgets, and an expansion of tax-break subsidised fracking ventures go ahead.
A March 2015 DECC survey found that 78% of the UK public supports renewable energy, including 65% for on-shore wind, compared to just 24% supporting shale gas. [2]
Much DECC spending is ring fenced as capital expenditure or legal obligations to decommission expired power stations. The Spending Review cuts to DECC are being disproportionately targeted at department staff, undermining its future ability to advise Ministers or develop intelligent policy.
Contact:
Fuel Poverty Action – Laura Hill – 07782298065 – [email protected]
Platform London – Mika Minio-Paluello – 07733466038 – [email protected]
 


 
Fuel Poverty Action expresses support for striking EDF workers
Hundreds of EDF staff represented by Unite the Union have today gone on strike owing to a dispute over pay cuts, job losses and working extended hours to install smart meters.
Fuel Poverty Action has today released the following statement in support of striking workers:
‘Fuel Poverty Action supports EDF workers striking today about the way smart meters are being introduced. Despite making hundreds of millions of pounds in profit every year, EDF are seemingly unwilling to treat their workers or customers fairly.
‘They continue to rip off their customers, forcing poorer households to choose between heating and eating in the winter whilst exploiting their workers through unfair wages and conditions.
‘Smart meters could bring down bills, and release resources to give workers shorter hours and better pay. Instead they have already led to unpredictable price hikes for some customers, and many are afraid they could be put onto a prepayment meter remotely, while workers face pay cuts and longer working hours.
It couldn’t be clearer that privatised energy works only for shareholders and CEOs – leaving everyone else behind. It’s time to explore how publicly and community owned energy can benefit workers and households in fuel poverty alike.’


 
Comment: Fuel Poverty Action responds to CMA
Fuel Poverty Action
07782298065
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
Fuel Poverty Action’s Laura Hill says:
“We are disgusted to hear the CMA’s proposed piecemeal reform of the energy system.  Until now competition has failed to end the suffering millions of households experience during the winter months and has only lined the pockets of the profit-hungry Big Six– so why do they think it will work now?
Energy bills are at an all-time high; this price cap is to little to late and won’t protect vulnerable households. People are at the end of their tether with the Big Six and instead what they need right now is a dramatic price cut.
It’s clear our current for-profit energy system is broken and what we need now is a new system that will actually help those affected by fuel poverty and energy debt. The solution is clear: we need home insulation and a system that is affordable, clean and democratically owned. The Big Six have once again demonstrated they are not fit to run our energy system.”


Comment: Fuel Poverty Action responds to anticipated recommendations by CMA

Fuel Poverty Action

07782298065

[email protected]

@fuelpovaction

Fuel Poverty Action’s Laura Hill says:

“The recommendations set out in the report are laughable and once again demonstrate the government is tucked-up in bed with the Big Six. Blaming energy customers for the Big Six’s exploitative antics is disgraceful and will not end the hardship millions of households suffer during the winter months.

When the Big Six pocket billions of pounds in profit every year whilst one in four families decide whether to eat or heat their homes, I find it hard to understand how the CMA can say that profiteering energy companies have nothing to do with the current energy bill crisis. 

We are all sick and tired of the government’s inaction and excuses on fuel poverty. It’s time they take stock and listen to the needs of the people and not profit-hungry companies. We need an energy system that is affordable, clean, public and democratic.”

 


Tuesday 26 May
Fuel Poverty Action response to Ofgem prepayment probe announcement
‘The scale of forced prepayment meter installations shows how much power the Big Six have over millions of people’s lives. But we’ve known about the outrage of Big Six home break-ins for years — why has it taken Ofgem so long to investigate this scandal?
‘Customers on prepayment meters also pay more for power than those on direct debit, despite paying in advance and have to live in fear of the running out of money and being left in the cold and dark.
‘Households are in fuel bill debt because bills are too high, homes are too drafty and wages and benefits are too low. We could have clean and affordable energy without any home break-ins, but this means challenging the power of the Big Six — if Ofgem won’t do this, plenty of cold and angry bill-payers will.’
 


 
Fuel Poverty Action submits report to Competition and Market Authority on social housing tenants being locked in to long-term energy monopolies
Fuel Poverty Action
07782298065
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
[email protected]
www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk
 
For immediate release
 
Social landlords lock tenants into energy companies and fuel poverty
 
Fuel Poverty Action[i] has been contacted by a number of tenants from social housing estates across London who told us that they are unable to switch their energy suppliers for heating and hot water  because their social landlord has ‘locked’ them in to buying from one supplier. In one case, residents of Myatts Field North estate have been locked in to buying their heating and hot water from e.on for 40 years under a Private Finance Initiative contract agreed by Lambeth council.
 
Last month, Fuel Poverty Action submitted evidence to the Competition and Market Authority who were calling for submissions looking at why people are not switching energy supplier[ii]. Fuel Poverty Action used case studies of these housing estates to show that residents are not switching because they have been prevented from doing so by their social landlord[iii].
 
The residents we have spoken with have expressed deep unhappinessness that they are unable to choose their energy supplier and are stuck with the one that has been chosen by their social landlord. The social landlords’ reasons for choosing the particular energy suppliers are not clear to the residents, but getting the cheapest deal for their low-income residents, as they have the power to do, does not seem to have been a factor[iv]. When residents have made complaints about the energy supplier monopoly and other problems with the energy supplier to their social landlord, they have not received an adequate response. We are in touch with residents from Myatt Field North estate in Lambeth, Pembroke Park estate in Eastcoate, and a Hackney estate.
 
As one resident from Myatts Field North estate said: “My experience has been traumatic along with the rest of the estate. Since moving into this property in May last year I am still experiencing problems. Intermittent hot water has been a problem throughout and after the petition they have finally admitted that there is a problem with our block in particular being starved of hot water because they cannot balance the system…This was when residents had enough and we started the petition. If we were not chained to this contract many, if not all of the residents would move supplier. Even the private residents are livid and complaining about the poor service.”
 
A resident from Pembroke Park estate said: “As social housing tenants we would like to be treated fairly and not discriminated against. Free holders and lease holders [are not locked in to buying their heating and hot water from Vital Energi] whereas social housing tenants, many of whom are low-income and have disabilities, are locked in to this energy system. We hope whoever is responsible will take this into consideration. It costs £50 for hot water and heating in our home [four bedroom semi-detached house] for 9 days that is the reality.
 
“We would be happy if someone could help us to change the supplier because A2D [housing association] won’t let us do this.
 
“We been living in that house for four years now and for all these years, none of us ever use the bath although my husband needs to as a disabled person and my mum as well as she is 75yrs. That is affecting our freedom and making me argue with my family “don’t let hot water running it will cost etc…” We have no rights to change the supplier. I want to explain that, after the high amount we are paying, in a lower temperature we still need to cover our self with blankets. From the very first bill we have received, we started to chase them but, nothing has happened yet.”
 
Liz Wyatt from Fuel Poverty Action said: “The government’s solution to the fuel poverty and energy bill crises has been a mantra of ‘switch, switch, switch to bring down the bills’. Whilst we know that constantly switching will not lower energy costs to an affordable rate, we’re concerned that some social tenants do not have this option to try to get some of the better deals.
 
“Whilst we recognise and welcome district power heating systems as being much more energy efficient, Fuel Poverty Action is very concerned that social landlords are locking their tenants into energy deals that don’t provide their tenants with the low cost energy they need. These energy monopolies are forcing tenants deeper into fuel poverty as they do not have the option to look around for cheaper deals and discounts.
 
“Social landlords should be using their role to help alleviate poverty and empower their residents; localised energy could be a part of this if these social landlords were to find the cheapest deal for their tenants and support community-run energy initiatives. Instead, they are making bad deals with energy suppliers without consulting their tenants and are failing to respond to tenants’ concerns.”
 
ENDS
 
Endnotes:
[i]       Fuel Poverty Action is a grassroots campaign group that works with people directly affected by fuel poverty to take on the Big Six energy companies and their friends in government and to demand warm, healthy homes for all. See more on our website www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk
[ii]      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/energy-market-investigation-updated-issues-statement
[iii]     You can read our submission here https://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/media/553e275f40f0b6158c00004f/Fuel_Poverty_Action_-_resp_to_UIS.pdf
[iv]    “The former regulator Ofgas produced a useful guide for social landlords on all aspects of the competitive market and Ofgem continues to apply these principles…The guide mentions three categories of action which social landlords are taking…3 The landlord as energy supplier. Social landlords can set up a company which applies for a licence to become a gas or electricity supplier itself. Rather than make a profit, supply to tenants can be at cost price.” p209-10 ofFuel Rights handbook 16th Edition by Child Poverty Action Group
______________________________________________________________________________________
 
Comment: Fuel Poverty Action responds to the launch of Npower ‘fuel banks’
Fuel Poverty Action
07782298065
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
In response to Npower’s launch of ‘fuel banks’, Fuel Poverty Action’s Liz Wyatt says:
‘With ‘fuel banks’ being piloted by Big Six profiteer N Power never has it been clearer that our energy system is broken and that the Big Six, or in fact any company making money off a right as basic as energy, are not fit to run our energy supply.
These fuel banks will do nothing to hide the harmful actions of the Big Six, including home break ins to install unwanted prepayment meters, visits by bailiffs, and energy supply disconnections to vulnerable households.
Millions of households across the country, who have suffered ill-health over winter from cold homes and the stress and anxiety that lasts year round as they attempt to meet their energy costs, will feel deeply insulted that the very company that has caused them such suffering through high costs and forced prepayment meters is now pretending to help the fuel poor.
Our current, for-profit energy system is broken – only an affordable, public, and renewable energy system will make a meaningful difference to those affected by fuel poverty and energy debt. With the huge majority of public opinion in favour of public energy, it’s no wonder the Big Six are trying to improve their image.’
 
 
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Comment: Decline in British Gas profits due to warmer weather, less deaths from fuel poverty
Fuel Poverty Action
07782298065
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
In response to the British Gas’ decline in profits, Fuel Poverty Action’s Laura Hill says:
“We won’t be shedding any tears for British Gas’ falling profits. This is the result of a milder winter, which led to less people dying from fuel poverty. Any profit made whilst thousands of people die from cold homes in the UK is not justified.
Whilst the Big Six will try to use this slight fall to their advantage – to justify not reducing household fuel bills in line with wholesale gas prices – we must remember that the Big Six will make their highest ever per household profit of £114 this year and that their profits are likely to rise again. The Big Six have repeatedly shown themselves as unfit to run our energy system- it’s time that our needs and Energy Rights are put first- we need affordable, sustainable and democratically owned energy for the long-run.”
 


 
COMMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Competition Markets Authorities – Big Six overcharge customers by £234 per year
07782298065
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction
In response to the competition authority finding, Fuel Poverty Action’s Laura Hill says:
‘Once again, we are completely outraged to hear that the Big Six have not only overcharged hard pressed households by as much as £234 per year, but have also exploited and misguided people in order to do so.  With thousands of people dying this winter because they can’t afford to keep their heating on; it couldn’t be more obvious that they’re not fit to run our energy system and that privatised energy doesn’t work.
‘The government’s response so far has been entirely inadequate and their desperate push to increase switching will do little to stop the corrupt actions of the Big Six and instead we need an energy system that is not-for-profit, affordable, sustainable and owned by communities not companies.’
 
 


 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE
Fuel Poverty Action to stage Packed-Lunch protest at Ofgem
07895305111
[email protected]
@fuelpovaction

  • Campaign group Fuel Poverty Action are holding a ‘Packed-Lunch protest’ at Ofgem, from 4.30pm on Tuesday 3rd February
  • The action group will bring flasks of tea, sandwiches and banners with slogans such as ‘3000 deaths from the cold this week: Ofgem recommends we make a packed lunch’
  • The group will also be launching their petition on 38 degrees: ‘Big Six: Pay Us Back’ which demands that the energy companies reimburse households for the extra profit they have made by not bringing down bills in line with wholesale price falls
  • The ONS suggest that 3000 people could die in the UK this week from cold

Fuel Poverty Action have called for a ‘Packed-Lunch Protest’ at the energy regulator Ofgem, after money- saving advice from Ofgem was today revealed to include making packed lunches, carrying flasks of tea and coffee and quitting gym memberships.
The revelation about Ofgem’s advice coincides with an ONS announcement that more than 3000 people could die this week alone from the effects of the cold weather, with cold homes playing a big part in Excess Winter Mortality deaths. A report by Which? has also been released this week showing that the Big Six energy company bill reductions should have been closer to 10% for gas and electricity bills, yet bill reductions by the Big Six are between just 1.3%-5.1% reductions.
Fuel Poverty Action spokesperson Clare Welton has said:
‘Ofgem is dishing out insulting and patronising advice and is telling poor people to change their behaviour, when it’s the Big Six who need to change their behaviour.
‘We’re protesting to highlight the absurdity of the situation- thousands of people are dying, we know the bills have been to rigged to benefit the Big Six and yet somehow it’s lunchtime meal deals that are to blame.
‘We are having to start our own petition to get the money out of the Big Six that they should never have taken in the first place. We are sick and tired of the excuses and inaction of the government and Ofgem who are standing idly by, propping up the poverty profiteers whilst thousands of people die this winter. The solution is clear: home insulation and a move towards affordable, sustainable and democratically owned energy, away from the Big Six who have proven themselves time and time again unfit to run our energy system.’
The ‘Big Six:Pay Us Back’ petition will be launched at the protest https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/big-six-pay-us-back


Statement for immediate release- 2nd February 2015

Comment on Ofgem, Excess Winter Deaths, energy bills:

Condensed comment:‘We are utterly appalled that the Big Six’s profit margins are growing off the backs of their refusal to cut their bills in line with wholesale prices, as the number of people dying from the cold could reach 3000 this week alone. Combined with the news that bills could have been £145 cheaper last year and Ofgem’s only intervention being patronising people into stop buying lunch, it is abundantly clear that our private energy system simply isn’t working.
‘We are sick and tired of excuses bouncing between Ofgem, the government and the Big Six for the fuel poverty and energy bill crisis we are in the grip of. The solution is clear: mass home insulation and a move towards affordable, sustainable and democratically owned energy. The government must stop standing idly by, propping up the poverty profiteers whilst thousands of people die this winter.’ Full comment:The announcement by the Office for National Statistics that 40,000 people could die from the cold, including 3000 people this week alone, is nothing short of scandalous and must be met with outrage and action. We all know what it needed: a mass, free home insulation programme and complete reform of the energy system. Everyone should have a right to access enough energy to fulfill their basic needs and keep themselves warm and healthy over the winter, yet energy companies profits and unfair energy policy currently dictates who lives and who dies every winter.
News that bills were £145 higher last year than they should have been, and that bills aren’t falling fast enough now, should also be the final nail in the coffin for the idea that private energy does in any way work for the majority of people- it’s abundantly clear it works for shareholders, and the Big Six profiteers, but not for hard-up families. We urgently need to think about the possibilities of not-for-profit, and publicly and community owned energy and the examples are already there: council owned not-for-profit energy companies, community renewable projects all pave the way to bringing down the bills.
Finally, Ofgem’s advice that households should cut down on shop-bought lunches, coffees, gym memberships and more so that they can meet the price of rip-off energy bills is patronising rubbish which disguises the fact that the Big Six are making more profit per household now than ever before, off the backs of the fact that they haven’t bought down their bills in line with falling gas prices.
We are all sick and tired of inaction and excuses between Ofgem, the government and the Big Six for the fuel poverty and energy bill crisis we are in the grip of. The solution is clear: insulation and a move towards affordable, sustainable and democratically owned energy. The government must stop standing idly by, propping up the poverty profiteers whilst thousands of people die this winter.
We should be able to meet our basic energy needs in 2015,  we are demanding that our Energy Bill of Rights is recognised now. An Energy Bill of Rights is essential to take back this power from energy companies- from the right they have to break into homes to install unwanted prepayment meters to the rights being given to frack under homes in communities that don’t want it- and give the rights and power to communities and individuals who desperately need an affordable, sustainable and publicly owned energy system.
 


 
Tuesday 20th January
Price cuts aren’t enough and don’t solve the energy bill crisis
‘As the cold weather really hits home today, another of the Big Six has announced a very small cut to the price of bills, and once again the price cut simply doesn’t reflect the huge decrease in the wholesale cost.
‘Our for-profit fossil-fueled energy system means that we will always be at the mercy of Fat Cats to grant us mercy and cut our bills- which they shirk even when it would be easy for them to do so.
‘We simply can’t trust the Big Six with our energy system; we need affordable, sustainable energy for the long term- and that means the government need to think seriously about the options of not-for-profit, publicly owned energy, as well as renewables. Renewable energy sources , including solar and wind energy, are fast becoming some of the cheapest forms of energy in Europe, even with the oil price crash [1], and the government is condeming us to decades more of price instability by refusing to modernise and get on board with the benefits renewables could bring.’
Clare Welton, Fuel Poverty Action
[1] http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2390783/study-renewables-as-cheap-as-fossil-fuels-despite-plummeting-oil-price


Big Six profits for each death from fuel poverty revealed as Fuel Poverty Action launch Energy Rights

@fuelpovaction
[email protected]
www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk
07586482157
 
For Immediate Release
Campaigners from more than 30 groups and organisations will today meet in the House of Commons to launch Fuel Poverty Action’s Energy Bill of Rights.
Campaign group Fuel Poverty Action says that establishing ‘Energy Rights’- including the right to affordable energy and the right not to be disconnected from gas and electricity by a supplier or through lack of funds to feed prepayment meters – is needed to tackle fuel poverty and self-cut offs.
More than 10,000 people died as a direct result of fuel poverty in the UK 2012/2013 whilst in the same year the Big Six energy companies made £.37billion profit, equating to £370,000 profit per person who died. In 2013/2014 Big Six energy company profits stood at £2.8billion with the figures for the numbers of deaths from fuel poverty in this period not yet been announced.
More than 100 people are expected to attend the launch of Fuel Poverty Action’s ‘Energy bill of Rights’ at the Houses of Parliament, at 5.00pm. The guestlist for the launch event includes MPs John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas, housing activists from London and Carlisle who are collectively challenging landlords and both unjust renewable and fossil fuel energy suppliers, PCS Union Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh,anti-fracking activists, and womens’, pensioners’ and disabled people’s groups.
An activist from Longtown Action for Heat and resident of Riverside Housing Association in Carlisle will attend tonight’s event to talk about a project undertaken by his Housing Association. Riverside promised tenants an energy project that would reduce energy bills, but instead installed over-sized energy inefficient boilers in homes which have sent residents’ bills soaring and they even wrongly installed some solar panels on north, rather than sun-catching south, facing rooves and. Despite two years of complaints, the housing association have refused to act on the issue, leaving some tenants in thousands of pounds worth of debt.
The Energy Bill of Rights asserts the right to clean, affordable, publicly owned energy and a safe climate, as well as the right to not be disconnected or have to self-disconnect due to inability to top up prepayment meters.
Fuel Poverty Action spokesperson Clare Welton says:
‘Everyone should have a right to access enough energy to fulfill their basic needs and keep themselves warm and healthy over the winter, yet energy companies profits and bad and non-existent energy company policy currently dictates who lives and who dies every winter.
An Energy Bill of Rights is essential to take back this power from energy companies- from the right they have to break into homes to install unwanted prepayment meters to the rights being given to frack under homes in communities that don’t want it- and give the rights and power to communities and individuals who desperately need an affordable, sustainable and publicly owned energy system’
Over thirty campaign groups- from locally based food banks to international campaign organizations including the World Development Movement have already signed up to endorse the Energy Bill of Rights.
 
To talk more about the Riverside Housing Association campaign please call:
07586482157

[1] In 2012, 1,703,380 customers (both credit and prepayment) entered into debt repayment arrangements for gas and electricity accounts.
[2] In 2012, over half a million new prepayment meters were installed in the UK. At the end of 2012, almost seven million people were using prepayment meters – an increase of around 5% on the previous year. Over 80% of these new prepayment meters were installed to recover debt, installation was largely driven by more customers entering debt repayment arrangements, and being given prepayment meters instead of being disconnected.
http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/switch/report
[3] Office of National Statistics – Excess Winter Deaths statistics. Figure was 31,000, 30% higher than the previous year. WHO estimates a third can be directly attributed to Fuel Poverty
 


 
As millions face disconnection this winter, fuel poverty campaigners launch ‘Energy Bill of Rights’
 
@fuelpovaction
[email protected]
www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk
07586482157
 
For Immediate Release
 
Millions of people in the UK on prepayment meters face ‘self-disconnection’ from their gas and electricity supplier this winter.
Campaign group Fuel Poverty Action says that establishing ‘Energy Rights’- including the right to affordable energy and the right not to be disconnected from energy by a supplier or through lack of funds to feed prepayment meters – is needed to tackle fuel poverty and self-cut offs.
 
More than 10 million people in the UK are now on prepayment meters (PPMS) [1] with more than 100,000 PPMs – nearly 300 a day – installed on a ‘warrant visit’ — often by fitters legally breaking into customers’ homes against their will.[2]
 
Research by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Consumer shows that nearly 700,000 households on PPMs are in debt to their supplier and that more than 1.4 million households were self-disconnecting in 2010. [3]
10,000 people died as a direct result of fuel poverty in the UK last year. [4]
 
In 2013/2014 Big Six energy company profits hit £2.8 billion.
 
On Monday, up to 100 people are expected to attend the launch of Fuel Poverty Action’s ‘Energy bill of Rights’ in Committee Room 12, in the Houses of Parliament, at 5pm. The guestlist for the launch includes MPs John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas, housing activists from London and Carlisle who are collectively challenging landlords and both unjust renewable and fossil fuel energy suppliers, PCS Union Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh, anti-fracking activists, and womens’, pensioners’ and disabled rights groups.

The Energy Bill of Rights asserts the right to clean, affordable, publicly owned energy and a safe climate, as well as the right to not be disconnected or have to self-disconnect due to inability to top up prepayment meters.

 
Fuel Poverty Action spokesperson Kerry Smith says:
‘As we face another freezing winter, millions are preparing to self-disconnect, and ration heat and food, whilst the big energy companies get ready to rake in eye-watering profits from burning expensive and climate-destroying fossil fuels. The energy companies will continue to break into our homes to install prepayment meters, extort huge sums of money from us, whilst the government continues to make housing unaffordable and sell the land under our feet for fracking until we make it clear that we have energy rights and that we will not tolerate being violated in this way’.
 
Over thirty campaign groups- from locally based food banks to international campaign organizations including the World Development Movement have already signed up to endorse the Energy Bill of Rights.
 
[1] In 2012, 1,703,380 customers (both credit and prepayment) entered into debt repayment arrangements for gas and electricity accounts.
 
[2] In 2012, over half a million new prepayment meters were installed in the UK. At the end of 2012, almost seven million people were using prepayment meters – an increase of around 5% on the previous year. Over 80% of these new prepayment meters were installed to recover debt, installation was largely driven by more customers entering debt repayment arrangements, and being given prepayment meters instead of being disconnected.
http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/switch/report
 
[3]http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/topping_up_or_dropping_out
 
[4] Office of National Statistics – Excess Winter Deaths statistics. Figure was 31,000, 30% higher than the previous year. WHO estimates a third can be directly attributed to Fuel Poverty

 


 
Fuel Poverty Action statement 17/09/2014
Fuel Poverty Action activist barred from Labour Party Conference 
We were bewildered to hear that one of our founding members has been barred from speaking at a fringe meeting, on our behalf, at the Labour Party Conference.
Ewa Jasiewicz was invited to speak at a Manchester University Policy thinktank event on fuel poverty. Having accepted and filled out all the necessary security forms she was surprised to hear two weeks later in an impersonal email from conference organisers that she had not passed the ‘security requirements’ and as a result would not be admitted to the conference.
When she asked on what grounds she was being excluded, she was sent a one line response simply stating that the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) would not divulge the reason for refusing access to the conference.
With the grounds to Ewa’s barring made secret we are left questioning whether what has taken place is political policing- with both an individuals protest history and the ideas they promote- including bringing energy under public and community control and the role of direct action in creating change- blocked from being heard.
Many of our group are active trade unionists. We believe in solidarity and collective action: we are taking this exclusion of Ewa as an exclusion of our group and our ideas.
We are also left to speculate as to whether the exclusion is due to our stance on fracking, a new extractive industry supported by Labour as well as the current coalition government, and because we have taken part in the Reclaim the Power action camps at Balcombe and Blackpool against fracking.
We oppose fracking because it will do nothing to bring down our fuel bills whilst it exacerbates climate change, bringing even greater inequality and suffering to people here and globally, particularly those already struggling in poverty, as well as threatening local communities and water.
Regular, large protests against Igas’ drilling Salford last winter were met with police repression- including assaults of a grandmother, a fifteen year old girl, a pregnant woman and a lawyer among many others- it is scary and disappointing to see another block on democracy, free speech and debate on fracking being lead by the Labour Party and the GMP.
Allowing a members’ conference to be securitised in such a way so that it excludes people and groups which go against Labour party policies past and present -from the Iraq war to fracking-normalises political policing and is deeply undemocratic.
We’re demanding an explanation from Greater Manchester Police and the Labour Party for the reason for the barring of Ewa and that our presence at the Manchester University fringe meeting on Fuel Poverty to go ahead.
Fuel Poverty Action
 


 
Thursday 20th February 2014

Comment on Centrica’s profit announcement
On the profit announcement by British Gas owner’s Centrica today, a spokeswoman for Fuel Poverty Action says
‘We will shed no tears for Centrica today as a slight drop in their astronomical profits will provide cold comfort to the millions struggling with high bills, freezing homes and unwanted prepayment meters precisely because of the profiteering of this company.
‘If Centrica want to talk about ‘hostility’ perhaps they should look at the hostility they have for their customers and for communities in the UK- they’re the company who hiked their prices and then paid out hundreds of millions of pounds to shareholders, who breaks into people’s houses to install prepayment meters against their will, who lobbied the government to axe free insulation for the poorest households, who want to frack a community in Lancashire, regardless of what that community wants.
‘It’s high time to recognise that until we have a not-for-profit, renewable energy system which puts communities and those in fuel poverty first, the likes of British Gas will continue to make a killing. Fuel Poverty Action will be making the British Gas AGM in May a sight of protest  to express our anger and to call for an affordable, sustainable, more democratic energy future.’
Thursday 5th December
Fuel poverty campaigners condemn the autumn statement
On George Osborne’s autumn statement announced today Fuel Poverty Action campaigner Clare Welton said
‘Osborne is axing insulation for tens of thousands of the poorest households, condemning thousands of families to cold and damp homes with unaffordable high bills for decades, whilst letting the Big Six profiteer as before just a week after a huge rise of deaths from fuel poverty have been reported.
‘This cut for the fuel poor, and the cap for those who need benefits to survive, comes at the same time that profiteering, polluting and unpopular fracking companies are handed huge tax breaks by the government.
‘The Chancellor is wilfully ignoring the government’s own research which shows that big investment in insulation and renewable energy are the only ways to bring down bills in the long term [1], and is instead choosing to lock us into an expensive and unsustainable energy future for the sake of short term profit.’
[1] http://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/1672_CCC_Energy-Bills_bookmarked.pdf
Monday 2nd December
Comment on the “£50 bill reduction” announced by DECC and the Big 6
On today’s announced changes to ‘green levies’ Fuel Poverty Action campaigner Clare Welton said:
‘Both the energy companies and the government have today been quick to congratulate themselves on a small ‘reduction’ to energy bills, whilst putting forward no real solutions to end fuel poverty. Bills were too high for millions of households before the latest price hike, and will still be too high after today’s announcement of a slightly lower increase in prices. Furthermore, the announcement today bares no impact on energy company profits or their CEO’s bonuses, it simply transfers costs onto the taxpayer whilst making life harder for poorly insulated, cold households.
‘It’s clear that the Energy Company Obligation was not working in it’s current form.However, we are worried that the way in which the ECO is being transferred onto the taxpayer shows a complete lack of commitment from the government to ending fuel poverty.
‘Home insulation, investment in renewable energy and discounts for pensioners were all components of the ‘green levies’ and they are all essential in ending fuel poverty and creating a fair, affordable and sustainable energy system.With far fewer homes now to be insulated each year, this £50 ‘reduction’ comes at the cost of condemning tens of thousands of households to another freezing winter without adequate insulation and with ever-rising bills and it is only energy companies that will benefit from poorly insulated homes with high fuel costs.
Today’s announcement also does nothing to tackle the Big Six’s addiction to expensive and unsustainable fossil fuels, which account for a huge 50% of our bill, compared to less than 10% for the ‘levies. Evidence from the government’s Committee on Climate Change shows that by 2050, well insulated homes and an energy system that uses renewable sources could make our bills £600 cheaper than the gas-based alternative[1]. Until we tackle the source of our energy as well as the ownership of it, we will continue to suffer from high bills and an unsafe climate. That our government’s actions and statements repeatedly betray such utter disregard for the need for sustainable solutions to fuel poverty and climate change is a tragedy and an outrage.’
[1] Energy prices and bills – impacts of meeting carbon budgets, Committee on Climate Change, December 2012:http://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/1672_CCC_Energy-Bills_bookmarked.pdf
Tuesday 12th November
Direct Action groups to target Big Six over fuel poverty deaths

On the day that yet another Big Six energy company announces a price-hike [1] anti-austerity groups including Fuel Poverty Action, UK Uncut, Greater London Pensioners Association and Disabled People Against Cuts reveal protests against ‘Big Six criminals’ on the day that excess winter deaths are announced.
Acting under the banner of ‘Bring down the Big Six – Fuel Poverty Kills!’ the groups will hold ‘an outrageous, creative and inclusive’ protest at the London office of one of the UK’s Big Six energy companies on Tuesday November 26th at 11.30am
Simultaneously, protesters will target British Gas at their new Oxford HQ [2]
Hundreds have pledged to take part in the protests so far. [3]
At least 7,200 people died last year in the UK due to cold homes. [4] A similar number of deaths is expected this year.
The Big Six Energy companies – N-Power, EDF, E.On, Scottish Power (owned by Iberdrola), British Gas (owned by Centrica), and Scottish and Southern Electric – run over 97% of the UK’s domestic energy system. Collectively they have doubled prices since 2004. Over the past 10 years, electricity in the UK has gone up 120.5% and gas 190.5% whilst household goods have soared by 30% [5]
For every 1% company price hike 40,000 people are plunged into fuel poverty [6]
The Big Six have been fined millions by OFGEM for mis-selling price plans – of which there are 900 to choose from in the UK – and are estimated to have made £2bn through overpaid bills by customers using Direct Debit [7]
The Big Six also include tax avoiders. Scottish Power paid only £102m corporation tax in 2012 on profits of £1.2bn and N-Power paid zero on profits of £766m over three years. [8]
James Grainger of Fuel Poverty Action said: ‘The Big Six are lying to us when they say the problem is ’green taxes’. The real problems are the Big Six’s profiteering and the rising cost of polluting energy like oil and gas. Energy is a basic need, too important to be left in the hands of profit-hungry private companies. A combination of publicly owned and community controlled renewable energy – alongside mass insulation – is the way to bring bills down and stop people dying from cold.’
Sarah Price of UK Uncut said: ‘The Big Six are an example of incredible corporate greed. Huge profits are extracted from the public whilst they suffer at the hands of austerity. David Cameron and his cabinet of millionaires are only too happy to stuff the pockets of big business while ordinary people are left out in the cold. The combined wealth of cabinet ministers is £70 million and they will never feel the pain of those who can’t afford their energy bills this winter. People must be put before profit, and with creative direct action, we will stand with the elderly, the poor and vulnerable to fight for OUR power. Fuel Poverty must end.’ [9]
Paddy Murphy of Disabled People Against Cuts said: “Another harsh winter will mean more disabled people will find themselves isolated in their homes, unable to heat them, or cook properly. Many don’t make it through. Politicians and energy firms talk about ‘measures’ and ‘support’, which are only available to a very few. The energy firms continue to sit in government departments writing energy policy, in buildings where the heating is paid for by the very people who will die of cold this winter. This is a disgrace. We ask all disabled people to take action, and to show this government, and these companies, that we wont take this and will fightback”
Betty Cottingham of Greater London Pensioners Association said: “Pensioners have a limited time on this earth. We can’t wait any longer – we want an immediate response to the dire circumstances that pensioners live in. Jumpers are not a solution. The solution is the take back the fuel industries into public ownership, and to see them as a public service and not something for someone to make a fortune out of”
Ends
CONTACT
Fuel Poverty Action – 07586 482 157 [email protected]
UK Uncut – 07415 063 231 [email protected]
Disabled People Against Cuts 07508 983 610
Greater London Pensioners Association 020 7209 3084
Notes
1 EDF announced a 3.9% rise for January 3rd 2014. Earnings so far for the company are £46billion this yearhttp://news.sky.com/story/1167341/energy-bills-edf-confirms-3-9-percent-average-rise and http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/city-news/energy-bills-edf-46billion-profit-2688513
2 www.facebook.com/events/1415841395313806
facebook.com/events/364663353679232
4 Last year there were 24,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales. According to the World
Health Organisation around 30% of excess winter deaths can be attributed to cold indoor
temperatures – which based on current figures means around 7,200 people died last year due to
cold housing in the winter months. Source:
euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file...
5 Office of National Statistics
www.theguardian.com/society/2011/dec/01…
7 SSE and Scottish Power were fined were fined £10.5m and £8.5m respectively this year for ‘mis-selling’.
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-248750…
www.theguardian.com/business/2013/apr/1…
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/92905…

Friday 25th October 2013

In response to Scottish Power’s price hike yesterday, Clare Welton of Fuel Poverty Action said:
‘The latest in the wave of Big Six price rises goes to show that switching from one Big Six supplier to another is not the long-term solution to fuel poverty. The problem is the Big Six themselves – they will never prioritise people’s lives over their profits.’
‘The time has come to take control of our energy system out of the hands of the Big Six. We need a total overhaul of the energy system – putting it under democratic control and introducing publicly and community owned renewable energy production and distribution. This is the only way we will see sustainable, affordable energy into the future.’
In response to the government’s Official Cold Weather Plan, which advises households to turn the heating on to minimise winter deaths, Clare Welton said:
‘After scrapping publicly funded insulation schemes, cutting the Winter Fuel Payment and pushing ahead investment in expensive gas power which will push up our bills even higher, the government is now kindly advising us to make sure we keep our heating on. How out of touch can this government be? The reality is that the government’s policies – and their cosy relationship with the Big Six – mean that for millions of us, heating our homes to a safe level of warmth is simply not an option.
‘This winter, Fuel Poverty Action will be taking to the streets to speak out for real solutions to this escalating crisis of cold homes and winter deaths. Mass insulation and a combination of publicly owned and community run renewable energy could provide clean and affordable energy for all.’
For immediate release Monday 21st October 2013
Big Six prove they’re not fit to run our energy system

  •   Angry fuel poverty campaigners speak out against NPower price hikes
  •   Complete overhaul of how the energy system works is the only way to stop fuel poverty, and is popular.

NPower have today announced price hikes for the coming months of 9.3% for electricity and 11.1% for gas.This follows price rises of 8.2% by SEE and 9.2% by British gas in recent weeks.
Clare Welton of Fuel Poverty Action said: “We can see from the wave of price rises that switching from one Big Six energy supplier to another is not the solution to fuel poverty.problem is the Big Six themselves-theywill never prioritise people’s lives over their profits.
The time has come to take control of our energy system out of the hands of the Big Six. If we really want to end fuel poverty we need a total overhaul of the system – putting it under democratic control, and introducing publicly and community owned renewable energy production and distribution. This is the only way we will see sustainable, affordable energy into the future.”
While the Big Six have all come out to blame the rising costs on a combination of factors, including government schemes and so- called ‘green levies’ Welton responded that, “the majority of the increase is down to the rising cost of gas. To protect ourselves from the ever-rising cost of fossil fuels we need a move to renewable energy, controlled by us – not the Big Six – a group of companies that have shown they couldn’t care less about the lives of people making the impossible choice between heating and eating.
A massive overhaul of the UK energy system to be more democratic and sustainable is supported by the vast majority of people in the UK, polls show.
A recent poll by ComRes found that 69% of people in the UK support renationalising energy in the UK, and a co-operative poll conducted by ICM, recently revealed that the majority of people – 68% – would support community-based clean energy projects, compared to just 7% who said they wouldn’t. (http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2012/10/18/manifesto-published-to-accelerate-community-energy-revolution/)
Thursday 17th Octobe2013
In response to the British Gas price rises of 8.4% for gas and 10.4% for electricity announced today, Clare Welton of Fuel Poverty Action said;
‘British Gas’ steep price rises are sure to send a shiver down the spine of millions of their hard up customers, particularly in the knowledge that Centrica, their parent company, reported £1.58billion operating profits in the 6 months to June this year.
‘However, British Gas are not the first and will not be the last Big Six energy company to announce huge bill increases this autumn. It’s time to recognise that switching from one expensive, profiteering company to another does not provide us with a solution, when the problem is the Big Six themselves.
‘High bills and price rises will force millions of households to choose between heating and eating this winter. Coupled with yet more threats published today from the energy sector about the lights going out, it is clear that the energy system is no longer working for us.
‘There is an alternative; clean, affordable, democratically controlled, not-for-profit energy and we need fair and rapid investment in renewables to start now. Until energy is under the ownership of the public and communities, which the vast majority of people want, we will continue to be at the sharp edge of profit hungry companies and ever increasing global fossil fuel prices.’
Thursday 17th Octobe2013
In response to the British Gas price rises of 8.4% for gas and 10.4% for electricity announced today, Clare Welton of Fuel Poverty Action said;
‘British Gas’ steep price rises are sure to send a shiver down the spine of millions of their hard up customers, particularly in the knowledge that Centrica, their parent company, reported £1.58billion operating profits in the 6 months to June this year.
‘However, British Gas are not the first and will not be the last Big Six energy company to announce huge bill increases this autumn. It’s time to recognise that switching from one expensive, profiteering company to another does not provide us with a solution, when the problem is the Big Six themselves.
‘High bills and price rises will force millions of households to choose between heating and eating this winter. Coupled with yet more threats published today from the energy sector about the lights going out, it is clear that the energy system is no longer working for us.
‘There is an alternative; clean, affordable, democratically controlled, not-for-profit energy and we need fair and rapid investment in renewables to start now. Until energy is under the ownership of the public and communities, which the vast majority of people want, we will continue to be at the sharp edge of profit hungry companies and ever increasing global fossil fuel prices.’
 
Friday 11th October 2013
Response to Derek Lickorish, chair of the government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group saying cutting the Energy Company Obligation:  ” is completely inequitable to attack the only measure that is doing something for the fuel poor in England. It is unforgivable when we have energy prices that are going only in one direction.”
“George Osborne has shown, yet again, that he couldn’t care less about the lives of people making the choice between heating and eating. The government’s cuts, high fuel prices, poor housing and short sighted energy policy will make for a deadly combination this winter as thousands are expected to die due to cold homes.
Enough is enough. The government’s cosy relationship with the Big Six is costing people’s lives. It is inconceivable that the Big Six will ever prioritise people’s lives over their profits, and the government seems to support this attitude. We can’t afford to be held to ransom by the energy companies and their government supporters any more.
The time has come to take control of our energy system out of the hands of the Big Six and put it under democratic control through a combination of publicly and community owned renewable energy production and distribution. We believe this is the only way we will see sustainable, affordable energy into the future.”
Quote from Maddy Jones, Fuel Poverty Action
Notes: The vast majority of the UK public agree that energy should be brought under public control (see:http://www.rtcc.org/2013/09/05/bbc-survey-highlights-uk-public-support-for-wind-and-solar/) whilst a much smaller proportion support new fossil fuel extraction in the UK.
In response to the Big Six threatening to raise bills by up to £100 to pay for ECO
“We are disgusted at reports that the Big Six have been threatening to put up bills in order to meeting their Energy Company Obligations. The Big Six are already making a killing from spiralling bills, but they’ll use any opportunity to hike the price up further – even in the name of a scheme which is supposedly aimed at the poorest.
This attitude is just one more example of why we can’t trust the Big Six with our energy. It’s time to take control of our energy system out of the hands of the Big Six and put it under democratic control through a combination of publicly and community owned renewable energy production and distribution. We believe this is the only way we will see sustainable, affordable energy into the future”
Quote from Maddy Jones, Fuel Poverty Action
Thursday 10th October 2013
SSE price hike shows that business as usual is not the answer
In response to SSE’s bills price rise announcement today, Clare Welton of Fuel Poverty Action said:
‘It is very difficult to believe SSE really is apologetic about the rises when they reported £1.4bn pre-tax profits this spring, especially when five of their top executies are earning over a million pounds a year. With 1 in 4 households in the UK currently making the impossible choice between heating and eating, the increases have been met with an understandably angry reaction from customers.
‘Even more audacious is SSE’s attempts to blame the price rise on green levies, when it’s own reporting shows that it is the wholesale price of fossil fuels that is pushing up the bills.
‘We cannot trust the Big Six energy companies to honestly respond to people’s energy needs, and the time has come for energy to be put back into the hands of communities. Fair investment in renewables must begin now if we are to avoid being vulnerable to the market’s constant price shocks.’
00.01am Monday 29th July 2013
Fuel poverty campaigners say transparency is not the real issue
Today, the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee released a report: ‘Energy Prices, Profits and Fuel Poverty’. The report calls on Ofgem to use its power to increase transparency and competition in the energy market. [1]
In response, James Granger of Fuel Poverty Action said:
‘Of course hard-up UK households have the right to know just how much of a killer profit their energy supplier is making. But increased transparency doesn’t mean a lot given the government’s plans to frack the countryside and build a new generation of gas power stations, which will mean even higher fuel bills alongside extreme weather and rising food prices due to climate change. With over seven thousand people dying each year from cold homes, we need more than piecemeal market reforms. We urgently need to re-think the fundamentals of our energy system, which prioritises the profits of the Big Six energy giants over our rights to warm homes and a safe climate.’
The report also suggests that we should pay for environmental and social programmes through public spending, funded by taxation, instead of levies on energy bills.
In response to this suggestion, James Granger of Fuel Poverty Action said:
‘Fuel bills are not rising because of the costs of renewable energy – the problem is profit-hungry energy companies and their addiction to expensive fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. We need a rapid shift to energy efficient housing and cleaner, cheaper renewable energy to bring down the bills and tackle climate change. Funding this shift by taxing the rich would be far preferable to levies on bills, which hit those on low incomes the hardest. However, our cabinet of millionaires is in bed with the Big Six, and their cuts to welfare and fuel poverty budgets in the context of generous tax breaks for fracking, show that they care more about their wealthy allies than the rest of us. It will take a movement of ordinary people fighting back against the government’s cuts and the power of the Big Six energy companies to force the changes we need.’
[1] Report available on 29/07/2013 at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/energy-and-climate-change-committee/
Notes to editors
– Fuel Poverty Action are a grassroots campaign for warm homes and a clean, affordable and democratic energy system. For more information see www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk and follow @FuelPovAction on Twitter.
– For interview requests and press inquiries, call 07586 482157 or email f[email protected]
14.30PM Monday 3rd June 2013
Keep Winter Fuel Allowance universal

In response to Ed Balls’ statement on means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance, Elizabeth Ziga of Fuel Poverty Action said:
“Ed Balls may say he’s targeting the rich, but means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance will mean many people on low-incomes lose out via bureaucracy – means-testing always does. Instead of taking money from pensioners, whoever’s in Government should be taking money from the Big Six energy companies who profit directly from us freezing in the winter. It seems we can expect more of the same from Labour – more fuel poverty, more winter deaths and more unfair and unnecessary cuts.”
 
 
15:45PM Saturday 16th February 2013
Whitehall blockaded by wheelchair users in fuel poverty protest
Tel: 07586 482157.
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @FuelPovAction
Find out more: https://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/press/press-releases/

  • A fuel poverty protest is now blocking Whitehall, bringing traffic to a standstill, as they demand an end to fuel poverty.
  • Pensioners and disabled peoples’ rights activists lead the blockade that is also made up of climate change protesters and single mothers’ groups.

At 2pm, over 100 people gathered at the Department of Energy and Climate change to take action against spiralling fuel bills and the environmental consequences of the government’s “dash for gas”. The protesters then took their demonstration towards Downing Street and started blockading Whitehall when four wheelchair users, activists from the group Disabled People Against the Cuts, took to the street.
Protesters are holding giant mock fuel bills addressed to Energy Secretary Ed Davey, bearing the slogan: ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’.
Annie Edwards, a 65 year old grandmother, said:
“I can’t just sit at home shivering anymore- someone has to do something about how criminally expensive energy bills are ruining peoples lives. It seems like the only people that the government is listening to is the energy companies, they aren’t listening to us. Old people and sick people are dying and the government doesn’t care, so it’s time to take our protests to the next level.”
15:00PM Saturday 16th February 2013
Happening now: angry bill-payers protest against fuel poverty at Department of Energy and Climate Change

  • Protest taking place now outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, SW1A 2AW.
  • Photographs will be sent round after the protest. Follow @FuelPovAction on Twitter for live updates and photos.
  • For more information and photo and interview requests, including interviews with pensioners and disabled people, contact Fuel Poverty Action.

Tel: 07586 482157.
Email: [email protected].
Twitter: @FuelPovAction
Find out more: www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk
Over 100 people are currently outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in protest against fuel poverty. Many of those present are pensioners, disabled people and others struggling with high fuel bills. [1]
Protesters are holding giant mock fuel bills addressed to Energy Secretary Ed Davey, bearing the slogan: ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’. They have written testimonies of their experiences of fuel poverty on their personal fuel bills, which are being displayed outside the building. Those present are holding a ‘fuel bill assembly’ to speak out about how rising fuel bills and cold homes are affecting their lives and to discuss solutions. People are discussing further action: escalated protest, civil disobedience and direct action are being considered.
Ellen Clifford of Disabled People Against Cuts, who is participating in the demonstration, said:
‘I can’t afford to heat where I live anymore. Last year I couldn’t afford my rocketing fuel bills and I got put on a payment meter which is more expensive. Now I live with my partner who is also disabled and we have to choose eating over heating.’
Elizabeth Ziga of Fuel Poverty Action said:
‘While millions of us freeze in our homes, the government are snugly in bed with the Big Six energy companies. DECC have caved into the Big Six’s plot to increase our dependence on dirty and expensive gas power, even though this will send fuel bills through the roof and contribute to rising food prices through climate change. Hundreds of people across the UK are taking to the streets this weekend to express their anger and speak out for the alternative: clean, cheap renewable energy, under the control of communities, not corrupt politicians and energy tycoons.’
DECC is being targeted as part of a UK-wide weekend of action on fuel poverty called ‘Stop the Great Fuel Robbery’, organised by direct action- group Fuel Poverty Action. Big Six energy company offices have also been targeted. Yesterday, the Edinburgh headquarters of Scottish Gas (Scottish arm of Centrica), were also targeted in a demonstration organised by a tenants’ federation. [2] E.ON’s Nottingham offices were hit by demonstrations on Thursday. Actions are also taking place in Manchester, Lewisham, Hackney, Haringey and Southwark. [3]
The protest against DECC comes amidst strong criticism of their ‘flagship’ Green Deal scheme, which replaces government energy efficiency grants with private sector loans. The Green Deal has been criticised due to its high interest rates and upfront fees and its potential for allowing big banks and energy companies to profit. [4] Recent Freedom of Information requests revealed that dozens of Big Six staff are being loaned to work on government energy policy within DECC. [5] DECC have also been criticised for their role in pushing ahead a so-called ‘dash for gas’ despite the fact that increasing the UK’s dependence on gas would increase energy bills and exacerbate climate change. [6] Meanwhile, the government have cut fuel poverty budgets by 26 per cent and slashed energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor by 44 per cent. [7]
[1] For more info on the fuel bill assembly at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, see: https://fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/stop-the-great-fuel-robbery/mass-fuel-bill-assembly-at-the-department-of-energy-and-climate-change/. Groups supporting the protest include: All African Women’s Group, Climate Justice Collective, Disabled People Against Cuts, Frack Off (London), Global Women’s Strike, the Greater London Pensioners’ Association, National Pensioners’ Convention, Redbridge Pensioners’ Forum, Red Pepper, Single Mothers’ Self Defence, Southwark Pensioners’ Action Group, WinVisible.
[2] For more info about the protest at Scottish Gas, seehttp://edinburghenergycampaign.org.uk/.
[3] For a full list of actions taking place across the UK, seehttps://fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/2013/02/11/where-are-assemblies-and-action-happening/.
[4] Sehttp://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/critics-say-coalitions-green-deal-is-no-solution-to-curse-of-fuel-poverty-8477931.html anhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/27/green-deal-benefits-tory-friends.
[5http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/30/energy-companies-climate-ministry-decc
[6] According to the government’s own projections, energy bills will rise by £600 by 2020 if the dash for gas goes ahead, but would only rise by £100 if we invested in renewable instead. Seehttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/13/gas-energy-bills-renewables. John Gummer, Chair of CCC, recently wrote to the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, warning that the Government’s dash for gas could be illegal: “extensive use of unabated gas-fired capacity… in 2030 and beyond would be incompatible with meeting legislated carbon budgets.” (http://hmccc.s3.amazonaws.com/EMR%20letter%20-%20September%2012.pdf).
[7http://www.ukace.org/2012/11/the-impact-on-the-fuel-poor-of-the-reduction-in-fuel-poverty-budgets-in-england/
NOTES TO EDITORS
·         According to the government’s definition, a household is in fuel poverty if it spends 10 per cent or more of its income on fuel. Around one in four UK households are in fuel poverty under this definition. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/dec/01/fuel-poverty-affects-quarter-households).
·         According to a recent netmums survey, one in four mothers are being forced to choose between feeding their children and heating their homes on a daily basis. The survey also showed that eight out of ten families are rationing heating.(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/rising-energy-bills-force-bleak-choice-on-families–eat-or-heat-8439823.html).
·         In 2011-2012, there were 24,000 excess winter deaths (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/2011-12–provisional–and-2010-11–final-/index.html) According to World Health Organisation estimates, over 30 per cent of these deaths were due to cold homes (http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/142077/e95004.pdf).
·         Rising energy bills disproportionately affect disabled people. Disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people, on top of which additional unavoidable expenditure faced by disabled people is on average 25% higher than that for non-disabled people. Disabled people also need to spend more on energy as they are more likely to spend time indoors with fewer opportunities to go out and access community facilities to keep warm. Some impairments are aggravated by cold, requiring homes to be heated at higher constant temperatures to avoid illness and hospital admissions (http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/11/action-on-fuel-poverty-pensioners-speak-out-with-dpac-in-support/).
·         Deaths from hypothermia have doubled in the past five years, with the majority of these deaths being pensioners(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9078273/Hypothermia-deaths-double-over-five-years.html). Half of pensioners surveyed by Age UK have turned heating down when they are not warm enough in attempt to save money. The study from Age UK also reveals that around 2 million elderly people are so cold that they are going to bed when they are not tired and a similar number have moved into one room, in an attempt to keep the