Power utilities have urged the government to take action to avoid cold-related illnesses and prevent self-disconnections
More than two million households in the UK are unable to pay their gas and electricity bills due to skyrocketing prices and may disconnect from the grid without informing their suppliers, Bill Bullen, the CEO of Utilita Energy, has warned.
The company has surveyed 750 households and found out that many were still using outdated prepayment meters which had no digital connectivity, meaning that a supplier is unable to detect when someone has unplugged.
Bullen noted that this could result in a rise in cold-related illnesses and deaths this winter and urged fellow power utilities to swap old devices for the smart ones.
“Having no choice but to sit at home without heating or light is unacceptable, and our government and the regulator must intervene immediately to stop self-disconnections,” he said, adding that there is no excuse for “legacy” meters to be used unless a customer refuses a digital one.
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The UK is grappling with the worst energy crisis in decades, with millions of Britons facing considerably higher electricity prices. The government has allocated £16 billion ($20 billion) to subsidize household bills, but as the winter cold settles in and the demand for heating rises, the aid seems insufficient to cushion the blow.
The National Energy Action warned that 8.4 million Brits from vulnerable social groups risk falling into fuel poverty next year once new electricity tariffs, which will almost double, arise in April 2023.
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