1 in 5 Welsh Households Struggling To Pay Energy Bills
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
A Welsh report has publicised that householders are battling to meet their energy bills and more than 75% are genuinely worried about being able to meet payments if there is another price increase from energy companies. Families are being faced with the very real need to cut back on essentials to be able to keep up with the costs of gas and electricity. This includes food and other necessities, and it is believed that some consumers are putting their health in jeopardy with the cuts that they have to make.
Ofgem has released statistics that indicate that debt in Wales directly impacted by the energy increases has caused nearly 85,000 accounts to fall into payment difficulty which is an increase of 17,000 over the last two years. This is the largest percentage of any area in Britain. This has prompted Owen Smith, the shadow Welsh Secretary, to correspond with British Prime Minister David Cameron saying that Labour Leader Ed Miliband and his price freeze is now what he calls irrefutable. Energy debt has become a very real problem for the average Welsh household, although they are trying desperately to manage increasing costs.
With the very real increase of fuel rising eight times faster than income across the UK, Owen Smith has appealed to David Cameron to assess the impact upon the cost of living in Wales, which has some of the highest energy bills in Britain. The energy companies are not doing all they can to help, according to Ofgem. Owen Smith stated in his letter to the Prime Minister that since he took up the reigns of office, energy debt had gone up by 25%. He also said that the standard of living had dropped consistently in Wales since that time. He has said that there is a very real cost of living crisis facing the Welsh. He went on to add that Labourís pledge to freeze energy bills would be of benefit to more than a million households in Wales, and has urged David Cameron to consider adopting the plan immediately.
Conservative Mark Isherwood has said that there is concern for the aged and the latest round of fuel increases has pushed Wales to the limit. He added that he welcomed the move from government to bring in new legislation to get energy companies to place consumers on the most cost effective tariffs possible.
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