The chairwoman of the Committee on Fuel Poverty, Caroline Flint, said this morning close to 3.2m households are living in fuel poverty according to official statistics.
“But those statistics were before these price increases happened and there are a number of organisations – National Energy Action and others – who are predicting it could double that or even more,” the former Labour MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Flint said the Government should have a fuel poverty winter plan which is actively monitoring the situation on the ground, and consider whether more cash support is needed.
She added: “I think every step possible has to be made to prevent people turning off their heating. It is very rare these days that people would be cut off, if at all, by energy suppliers.
“One of the worries of our committee is that those people with anxiety about their bills, those people who are not going to be able to afford it despite the support they are getting, will actively just not turn on their heating.”
Also this morning, Maureen Fildes from National Energy Action (NEA), the national fuel poverty charity, said the organisation is hearing a lot of concerns from people on prepayment meters and credit meters.
“There is a lot of fear about how people are going to survive the winter,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Fildes said prepayment customers will receive monthly vouchers as part of the £400 discount, but she said this can cause problems.
She urged people to ensure that their contact details with their supplier are up to date and not to ignore any post that comes through from their supplier.
Asked if she thinks the Government measures will be enough to help people given the kind of rises that are predicted, she said: “I don’t think that is going to be sufficient to help people cope with the cost of living this winter.”