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Fuel poverty warning as utility bills are set to rise

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

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AN increasing number of households in Burton will be pushed into fuel poverty as the UK becomes more reliant on foreign energy imports, a residents’ representative has said.

Clive Keen, chairman of the Burton Town Residents’ Association, said young families and pensioners would be hardest hit by gas and electricity bill hikes expected to kick in as early as April.

The expected price rises will come as the UK begins to shut down ageing and polluting power stations — leading to a 10 per cent drop in energy production, which will have to be filled by importing more gas from overseas.

Mr Keen said: “Throughout the country there are going to be more and more people put into fuel poverty. I can’t see any way out of that.”

Some analysts believe families face paying hundreds of pounds a year more in utility bills as a result.

Mr Keen said: “Young people with families will struggle because of this, as will pensioners. This is a totally bad thing.

“It can’t go on for ever like this with prices just being increased all the time.”

Alistair Buchanan, the chief executive of energy regulator Ofgem, this week said household utility bills would rise because Britain would have to enter bidding wars with other countries, including growing Asian economies, for gas.

Mr Keen said: “We are in an age of austerity and we are being told by the Government that we must go green, but who is going to pay for it?

“It will be an increase in cost to the consumer that pays for this, not some of the energy companies’ profits.”

Proposed longer-term solutions to the UK’s energy needs, such as building new nuclear power stations and tapping domestic shale gas reserves, have yet to be given the final go-ahead by the Government, which wants to boost the UK’s use of green energy.

Homeowners and businesses have been advised to reduce their bills by adopting energy efficiency policies and not using more gas and electricity than necessary.

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