Simon Read: Vulnerable households given the cold shoulder on fuel bills

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Anger is growing at fresh accusations of profiteering by the big energy companies as more vulnerable people than ever before face weeks of freezing temperatures in their houses as the weather bites.

This week, the consumer group Which? accused the big six energy suppliers of overcharging us all by £145 a year. Last week, the energy watchdog Ofgem predicted that the profit margins of the big firms would climb £9 to £114 per customer this year, as they continue to fail to pass on savings on the cost of gas and electricity.

"We are utterly appalled that the big six's profit margins are growing off the backs of their refusal to cut their bills in line with wholesale prices, as the number of people dying from the cold could reach 3,000 this week alone," said Clare Welton of the campaigning group Fuel Poverty Action.

She added that it is time for energy companies to stop making excuses for their excessive and unaffordable bills. "We are sick and tired of excuses bouncing between Ofgem, the Government and the big six for the fuel poverty and energy bill crisis we are in the grip of," said Ms Welton.

"The solution is clear: mass home insulation and a move towards affordable, sustainable and democratically owned energy. The Government must stop standing idly by, propping up the poverty profiteers while thousands of people die this winter."

twitter: @simonnread

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