Express & Star

Shocking reality of our rising household bills show how costs have doubled in a year

The stark reality of the cost of heating a home and using electricity has been laid bare in new figures.

Household bills have rocketed in the last 12 months

They reveal the cost for fuelling the average household is now twice as much as last winter.

Homes across Wolverhampton, the Black Country and Staffordshire all had bills of around £1,200 in 2021, but the on-going energy crisis has seen them rise go beyond £2,000 and closer to £2,500 in some parts.

National Energy Action said the situation will continue to deteriorate this year as customers face spiralling energy bills when the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, which means bills for a typical household are currently capped at £2,500 per year, rises in April.

Today’s figures come from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They show that, in Wolverhampton, the cost of heating a home in 2021 was estimated as £1,251 on average, whereas the new figures show a rise to £2,429 per year this winter.

Across the Black Country, it was a similar story, with Dudley households paying on average £2,389 this winter compared, to £1,236 in 2021, Sandwell households saw an increase from £1,213 in 2021 to £2,351 this winter and Walsall households up from £1,261 to £2,349.

In Staffordshire, South Staffordshire households would be paying the most this year, with a rise from £1,305 in 2021 to £2,526, Stafford households would pay nearly double, from £1,251 in 2021 to £2,423, and Cannock Chase households saw a rise from £1,245 in 2021 to £2,402.

Households on a fixed tariff will pay for energy at their current rate until the term comes to an end.

Lorraine Papaioannou, regional leader West Midlands for debt charity Christians Against Poverty, said the charity had been doing what it could to help people struggling with spiralling costs.

She said: “We’ve given out double the amount of energy vouchers than we did last year and there’s been a massive hike in the amount of support that we’ve been giving our clients. It’s very difficult because the demand will never go away and it’s increasing for everyone in this sector, but what we’re trying to do is reassure people that they’re never without hope and we will help people as much as we can.

“Depending on what their situation is, people come to us in debt, but they are also approaching us about energy, so we are trying to signpost them towards something practical, like a voucher or the best help in their area.”

Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action, said the situation could worsen this year following the end of the current Energy Price Guarantee, claiming one in three households will be in fuel poverty. He said this means people “will be forced to bed wearing coats, ration showers and hot water, run up huge debts or self-disconnect and go cold”.

He added: “Millions of the most vulnerable, including carers, people with disabilities, those on low incomes and living in inefficient homes, are already bearing the brunt this winter. The effects of this are devastating on both physical and mental health. Make no mistake, cold homes can kill. Government intervention must prioritise the most vulnerable in 2023 and beyond.”

A Government spokesperson said it has recently launched a new campaign ‘It All Adds Up’ to help families reduce their energy bills, adding: “We know it is a difficult time for families across the country.

“That is why we have acted swiftly to provide support, including the Energy Price Guarantee, which is saving the typical household around £900 this winter, as well as £400 payments towards bills and £1,200 for the most vulnerable households.”