Plea to protect OAPs from fuel costs

PENSIONERS in Suffolk should be protected from recent soaring energy costs, it has been claimed today.Last week British Gas became the third big power supplier to up its prices this year.

PENSIONERS in Suffolk should be protected from recent soaring energy costs, it has been claimed today.

Last week British Gas became the third big power supplier to up its prices this year.

The move followed similar announcements by EDF, which increased rates by at least 8per cent, and npower, which increased prices by up to 17pc at the beginning of January.

Liberal Democrats on Suffolk County Council are now calling on government to protect pensioners across Suffolk from energy price rises.

They say recent increases in the cost of electricity and gas are set to wipe out pensioners' winter fuel payment.

Kathy Pollard, leader of the Lib Dems on Suffolk County Council said: "Elderly and disabled people are hardest hit by the fuel price hikes, which more than wipe out the value of the winter fuel payment, this will leave many residents of Suffolk in a financially difficult position.

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“The Government must do far more to combat fuel poverty.

“The top priority must be to end the scandal where pensioners are paying a fortune to heat draughty houses where a lot of the heat is simply wasted.

“In many other European countries with much colder weather, household energy bills are lower because homes are better insulated and heating is more energy-efficient.

“The government needs to get its act together and make sure that our pensioners don't have to make a choice between heating and eating on cold winter days.”

n. Are you concerned by rising fuel prices? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

House of Commons figures show that, since 2004/5, and taking into account recently announced price rises:

For a typical pensioner household aged 65-74 with gas central heating, gas bills have gone up by £260pa and electricity by £160pa - a total of £420.

For a typical pensioner household aged over 75 gas bills are up £200pa and electricity bills up £150pa - a total of £350.

The value of the Winter Fuel Payment per household for those aged 60-79 is £200, and £300 for those aged over 80