Around 150,000 pensioners could face fuel poverty this winter, following the spike in energy bills during the past months.
That’s according to Age UK, which has estimated that 1.1 million elderly people will now struggle to pay their bills and more will have to be conscious of how much heating they use.
In light of the recent instability in the market, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has listed the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments as schemes that can support low-income households with their energy bills.
However, Age UK claims that these schemes are not readily available for all older households that require them, as they are not currently claiming Pension Credit.
The charity is calling for government to increase the Household Support Fund to £1 billion and give a stand-alone payment of £50 to those eligible for the Cold Weather Payments.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, said: “More than 25,000 people have told us how worried they are and it is clear that as things stand, some fully expect to have to choose between cutting down on food or turning down their heating, once the cold weather sets in.
“Doing either is a potential risk to their health, especially if they are living with serious underlying health conditions like heart disease or COPD.
“We must do everything possible to safeguard the health and wellbeing of pensioners on low fixed incomes. The energy price cap offers valuable protection against prices going through the roof and the government should move quickly to enshrine it in law.”
Energy Live News has contacted BEIS for a response.