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Energy bills double for pensioners

Energy bills for older people have more than doubled in the last eight years, according to research by Saga.

The average annual energy bill for over-65s is £1355.90, more than double the £668.98 they were paying in 2005.

Rising energy costs and fears that they may yet rise again are particularly ominous to over-50s on a fixed income, as Saga found that the amount of income that they spend on their energy bills has risen at a faster rate than any other demographic.

Over half of those questioned as part of the Saga research (58%) say they are worrying about the costs of heating their homes this winter.  35% – more than 7 million – say they are already struggling with heating bills.

Rising energy bills

Energy costs are a widespread concern, with almost nine in ten households expected to ration their energy use to save on bills.

Last winter, three quarters of households went without heating at some point due to cost.

All of the UK’s six biggest suppliers raised their prices last year, with E.ON’s price rise due to take effect on 18th January this year, leading to concerns about the effects of energy prices on homes vulnerable to fuel poverty.

Average household energy bills

Supplier Previous bill size New bill size
British Gas £1,260 £1,336
EDF Energy £1,202 £1,332
E.ON £1,260 £1,370
npower £1,244 £1,352
ScottishPower £1,349 £1,368
SSE £1,235 £1,354
Average £1,258 £1,352

Based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas with bill sizes averaged across all regions.

Burdened

Dr Ros Altmann, Director- General of Saga comments: “Energy prices are continuing to increase and we are still to feel the full effects of the latest price rises so energy costs are likely to put even more of a financial strain on households in 2013.

“While incomes have increased in the last seven years, they have not kept pace with the rate that energy and fuel costs have risen, meaning that people are spending more of their income on fuel. This is especially true for older people who are often on lump or fixed incomes or whose savings income has fallen.

“Inflation rates remain higher for the over-50s, reflecting in part the fact that utility prices are much higher. We know from our own research just how much of a burden energy prices are on the finances of those faced with fixed or dwindling incomes, especially older generations, of whom 29% are having to raid savings every month in order to make ends meet.”

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