Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Energy Price Rises Kill

Recent inflation-busting energy price rises will kill at least 70 Kent residents this winter and  force thousands into fuel poverty, claims the Kent Green Party.

According to the latest figures, 53,272 Kent households (an average of 9% of total households) are in fuel poverty (1). In some areas of Kent the number of households in poverty is much higher than the county average. In Canterbury, Thanet, Swale and Dover fuel poverty rates of between 17-22% are concentrated in some of the most deprived wards (2).

“With wages and benefits frozen or reducing in value and energy price rises many times greater than inflation thousands of Kent people will find themselves in fuel poverty with many having to make the choice between eating and heating,” said Green Party Thanet Councillor, Ian Driver.

Energy affordability could also make the difference between life and death. Based on the latest available figures, it is estimated that during the winter of 2011, approximately 70 people in Kent died as a direct result of living in cold homes. At least 50% of these deaths were concentrated in Thanet, Swale, Shepway and Dover, some of the poorest areas in the county (3).

Said Driver: “It’s intolerable that  people are allowed to die in Kent and the rest of the country simply because they can’t afford to keep warm. It should be a basic human right to be able to live in a warm home with affordable fuel bills. The Green Party calls on the Government to massively expand its programme of insulating the homes of people at risk of fuel poverty and installing more fuel-efficient heating systems.  The Government should also take steps to ensure that a significant portion of the massive profits of the energy companies are directed towards making electricity and gas more affordable, rather than lining shareholder pockets.”

1.   Figure extracted from the latest Government Fuel Poverty Statistics for 2011 (low income/high cost table) , which can be found here:

2.   Figures extracted from above table and attached to this e-mail.
3.   The 2011 Hill’s Report on Fuel Poverty developed a methodology for calculating deaths directly attributable to cold homes. 10% of all excess winter deaths (700 in Kent in 2011)  can be directly attributed to cold homes = 70 deaths. 50% of  all excess winter deaths in Kent in 2011 were in Thanet, Swale, Shepway and Dover. See



  1. An interesting point of view.

    How do you think it meshes with your efforts to prevent the harvest of fuel by way of hydraulic fracturing in Kent and the South of England, when in a world driven by supply and demand, such a supply would obviously hold or reduce the price of fuel?

  2. Anon 8:08 has a valid point for, in a capitalist democracy coupled with an ecological demand for greener energy, prices are increasingly hard to control. On the one hand governments cannot dictate to companies how much they charge for their products and, on the other, green taxes introduced by governments have accelerate price increases.

    It is known that renewal energy sources are expensive, hence the green taxes, yet the green lobby backed by EU regulation want to do away with fossil fuel fired sources. Elsewhere one reads that the sale of wood burners are on the increase and the enterprising have spotted chimney sweeping as a growing business again. In other words, people are turning to wood to reduce their fuel bills, but increasing greenhouse gases in the process.

    Are there easy answers? I think not and it is not sufficient to demand cheaper fuel. One has to be able to find and produce it. As that seems unlikely the only short term answer would appear to be to increase fuel subsidies to the less well off in our society.

    Meantime in China, a communist totalitarian system, they are building new coal fired, greenhouse gas emitting power stations daily thus negating all our good efforts by covering our countryside and coastal waters with ugly and inefficient wind turbines. Is there really any point to anything.

  3. What is driving up the prices? That's the question that we really need to address.

    Certainly the price of gas has remained stable in the wholesale market for the last two years according to Ovo Energy so it cannot be the need to extract more gas that is driving up Electricity prices as well.

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