MP demands tough action on ‘rip-off’ fuel bills

Michael Dugher, Barnsley East MP, has called on the Government to stop energy firms ripping off millions of people over their fuel bills.

He made the demand after new figures revealed that more than one in ten homes in his constituency are considered “fuel poor” because they are struggling to meet the cost of soaring energy bills.

Of an estimated 39,505 households in Barnsley East, there are 4,391 ‘fuel poor’ households – 11% of the total number of homes.

People are considered to be living in fuel poverty if they cannot afford to heat their homes properly at a reasonable cost even if one member of the household is in work.

Mr Dugher warned the problem of fuel poverty was made worse because the Government had failed to tackle energy providers over their failure to move customers off expensive standard variable tariffs (SVTs) to cheaper options.

An estimated seven in ten consumers are on these SVTs and pay up to £230 a year more than those on the cheapest available tariffs.

Recently, five out of the “Big Six” energy giants have unveiled price huge price hikes.

Said Mr Dugher: “Energy companies having been ripping off consumers in Barnsley East for far too long.

“These figures show that more than one in ten local people live in fuel poverty and cannot turn the heating on as often as they need.

“The energy market is broken and failing everyone, especially the elderly and the vulnerable. It is time for the Government to get a grip and take action to fix it.

“We need a protected tariff – a maximum price the energy companies can charge.

“Through a protected tariff, that gives a fair price to customers who don’t switch suppliers, the Government can ensure that we all pay a fairer price and fewer people live in fuel poverty.”


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