PENSIONERS face a terrible winter ahead as gas and electricity prices soar at the same time as fuel allowances are cut.
That’s the warning from the Portsmouth Pensioners’ Association (PPA) in the wake of yesterday’s announcement by Scottish & Southern Electric that it would be increasing its prices by 11 per cent from September 14.
The company, which has one of its largest customer contact centres in Havant, has apologised for putting its prices up, acknowledging the impact the hike will have on older people.
It is estimated that an average fuel bill will increase by nearly £200 – from £1,094 to £1,265.
Muriel Deacon, 83, of the PPA, said: ‘Two of our members have told us they will be falling below the fuel poverty line this year because the increase in prices is tremendous and the fuel allowance is being cut.
‘It’s going to be a terrible winter because it isn’t just the fuel price increasing, it’s all the other prices as well.
‘Portsmouth pensioners are going to feel the pinch terribly, and I do hope there’s not going to be a fatal accident because of it.
‘We hear of people who just fill up their hot water bottles and take themselves to bed.
‘The fatal thing is when people know they’re going to have a huge bill, they stop using their heating and that’s when it gets dangerous.’
Scottish & Southern Electric chief executive Ian Marchant said: ‘I’m sorry that we have had to announce an increase in household energy prices at a time when many people’s budgets are under strain, but the upward pressures on prices have become too great.’
It says the increase in buying energy wholesale has come from disasters such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and political upheaval in the Middle East and the growing Asian economy.