As the festive season approaches Aberavon AM, David Rees, has urged local residents to remember those who may be suffering through fuel poverty and to check on elderly neighbours as the winter temperature drops. According to ‘The Hills Fuel Poverty Review’ approximately 2,700 elderly people in the UK will perish this winter in the cold – more than the number killed in traffic accidents.

David Rees AM said:
‘For many people this time of year brings with it thoughts of the festive season, Christmas presents and spending time with family and friends. However, for many of the welsh households that live in fuel poverty, this time of year brings bitter cold and a choice between eating or keeping warm. I would like to urge people in the local area, if they can, to please check on anyone they feel might be vulnerable this winter’.

The summer price hikes saw the biggest supplier, British Gas, put its gas and electricity prices up by 18% and 16%, which means that an average annual dual-fuel bill for its 9million customers has risen from £1,096 to £1,288. 2.5 million people are already in debt to their energy supplier.

David Rees AM added:
‘The majority of households experiencing fuel poverty are statistically “vulnerable”, in other words they contain the elderly, single parents, children or someone who is disabled or has a long term illness. The relentless rise in fuel prices, stagnating wages, unemployment and cuts are hitting everyone hard this winter; however, for the most vulnerable they could be deadly.’

The Welsh government is committed to helping people in Wales reduce their heating bills by increasing the efficiency of energy use in their homes. To date they have provided help to improve 100,000 homes in Wales. The Welsh Government has spent £86.5m on the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme since 2007 and investment in fuel poverty programmes has been protected even in this tight budget settlement. Since the establishment of the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in 2001 the Welsh Government has invested more than £134 million to help make more than 124,000 Welsh homes more energy efficient.