Nearly 400,000 households across the UK are more exposed to volatile energy prices as they are not protected by the price cap.
That’s one of the findings of a new report by the National Housing Federation (NHF) which suggests all these homes that have their energy supplied through a communal heating system, which is based on a commercial contract their housing provider negotiates with the energy company.
This results in their bills not being capped.
The NHF estimates that recent contracts are as much as 500% more expensive than in 2021, with bills in low-usage homes projected to rise by as much as £68 a week.
According to the report, this increase alone is £1,130 per year over October’s energy price cap.
The analysis shows that at present, more than half of households on communal heat networks are living in social housing and on low incomes.
Nearly 72% of them are older people over the age of 55.
The National Housing Federation is calling on the government to protect people on heat networks – it proposes purchases of gas at the capped domestic tariff rates and additional payments to residents.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the NHF, said: “It is unjust that hundreds of thousands of people, through no fault of their own, are exposed to uncapped heating bills just because of the way they pay for their energy.
“Worst still, the majority of those affected are vulnerable people on the lowest incomes in this country, who will already be struggling to pay for food and essentials.
“The government has a duty to act urgently and fairly to protect these people in the same way as the rest of the country.”