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UK Energy Rationing Damaged The Health And Wellbeing Of Consumers

Amid soaring energy prices and growing fuel poverty, UK households rationed heat this past winter, which resulted in 57% of those rationing heat suffering from deteriorating health and wellbeing, the UK government’s advisory body Committee on Fuel Poverty said in a new report.

Last winter, energy use was massively rationed across the UK. According to Citizens Advice, in 2022, the number of people unable to top up their prepayment meter was more than the previous ten years combined, the committee sponsored by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said.  

As a result, alternative heating strategies such as the use of electric blankets and hot water bottles spiked in popularity. 

“The cost of living crisis, and concurrent increases in energy costs, has led to a substantial increase in the number of households in arrears on energy bills, both in gas and electricity,” the committee said in the research, which was conducted by London Economics Limited.

So, many people resorted to rationing energy, and 57% of those rationing fuel, equal to 34% of all adults in the UK, saw negative health and well-being consequences.

For older people, 800,000 of the over 60s left their homes in January 2023 to stay warm elsewhere, the research showed. Of consumers who used less electricity and gas in the winter of 2022/23 – who were 60% of adults – 43% were using a tumble dryer less often and 42% were using the washing machine less often, the research said.

To alleviate the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, “some fuel poor households have resorted to more extreme coping strategies to ration their energy use, compromising their health, wellbeing and, in some cases, safety,” the committee said in the report.

Many households in other countries also struggled to cope with the energy crisis. Just ahead of the 2022/2023 winter, Germany’s insurance industry warned consumers against “dangerous experiments” to heat amid soaring energy prices. The insurers are concerned that the risk of fire is rising with the use of candles, too many electric heaters, or makeshift fireplaces.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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