Simon Read: Nine out of 10 people want inquiry into energy prices

The high cost of energy forced 71 per cent of homes to cut down on heating, according to uSwitch
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The Independent Online

In recent weeks The Independent has been leading a campaign for fair energy pricing amid a rising tide of accusations of profiteering by the Big Six suppliers. Average fuel bills have doubled in the past five years from around £600 to more than £1,200 now.

The concept of fuel poverty – when people can't afford to heat their homes – was practically non-existent a decade ago but has become a major problem for millions.

British Gas's owner, Centrica, complained last week that "mild weather" had cut profits at its UK subsidiary to just £522m. But the true reason people cut their heating by a fifth during the year was more likely because of soaring charges. British Gas raised prices in December 2010 and August 2011 by 24.9 per cent in total, adding £256 to the average bill. The high cost of energy forced 71 per cent of households to cut down on heating, according to uSwitch research.

Last week a YouGov survey revealed that nine out of 10 people support The Independent's calls for an independent public inquiry into the Big Six energy companies.

There will be further news this week on the campaign to End The Big Six Energy Fix, being co-ordinated by the think-tank Compass.

Meanwhile the consumer group Which? has seen more than 100,000 people sign up to its Big Switch energy prices campaign.

The movement to end the scandal of fuel poverty is getting louder. The Government must start to listen.