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Energy Prices: People With Disabilities Raise Concerns Over Cost

March 1, 2023

    A seriously ill man said he is concerned about a possible rise in energy costs.

    Stephen Walker from Leeds uses a powered feeding line to keep him alive, which he runs up to 15 hours a day.

    Mr Walker said he is now paying more than four times as much for electricity, compared with last year.

    A spokesperson said: “Government support will continue to help households with their energy bills”.

    Bills are expected to rise because the government’s energy price guarantee, which subsidises the cost, becomes less generous in April.

    “Without it I wouldn’t be here, because that’s what’s keeping me alive,” he said.

    “It takes up about a third of my income, probably more. If the [price] goes up in April there is nothing left in the reserves.”

    “The price cap is non existent for me,” he added.

    The amount companies can charge households for energy has been cut by regulator Ofgem, but bills will still rise in April as government help eases.

    Ofgem’s announcement itself does not directly affect what customers will pay for gas and electricity but it reduces the costs faced by government.

    The typical household bill will rise to £3,000 a year in April.

    Disability campaigner Jan Sergeant, who has Parkinson’s, said her energy bill in January was almost £400.

    “It was cold,” she said.”I can’t function if I’m cold. My body seizes up, I can’t move, I suffer incredible pain, that is the impact of the cold on people with Parkinson’s.”

    Mrs Sergeant has spoken to a group of MPs about the impact of rising energy costs on people with disabilities.

    A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said the Chancellor had announced cost of living payments for people with disabilities and a rise in benefits in line with inflation from April.

    “We know this is a difficult time for families, which is why the Government has covered around half of the typical household’s energy bill this winter, and by the end of June the Energy Price Guarantee will have saved a typical household in Great Britain around £1,000 since it began in October.

    “The cost of energy has already been falling and we expect this to drop further over the coming months, which we fully expect suppliers to pass onto their customers.”

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