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Derby shoppers slam ‘disgusting’ energy bill rises while fat cats get richer

today26 August 2022 1

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Shoppers in Derby say they have no choice but to endure a tough winter ahead as energy bills sharply rise with an average yearly bill costing up to £3,549 from October.

One “extremely worried” resident says he is preparing to keep his coat on throughout the coming months following the alarming announcement by Ofgem.

The energy regulator confirmed the 80.06% rise in the energy price cap which will come into effect from October 1. The price cap is expected to be adjusted again in January, when it is likely another big increase will be announced.

Read more: Energy bills set to rise for millions across country as price cap increased to £3,549

Fearful charity leaders have deemed the latest figures “truly frightening” with the increases likely to cause deep concern for residents including elderly and disabled people who rely on the heating and gas supplies during the cold months to get by.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service discussed the price cap increase with shoppers in Derby city centre. Many of them spoke with huge concern about the news.

Colin Voxall, 83 who lives in Whatstandwell, said: “It’s disgusting. It’s as if some of these big companies are making the figures up as they go along and getting richer and richer. Looks like I will have to keep my coat on in the house when the heating is off. I’m worried about it and there are plenty of others too.

Robert Thompson, 70, from Ilkeston, spent the morning sitting at the River Gardens reading the latest news about the cost of living crisis. He said his monthly bill could come close to £400 a month.

He said: “I’m not worried personally but I’m obviously worried for the nation. It means you have to cut back on stuff but I’m confident the Government will sort it. They are simply going to have to do something – it can’t carry on like this.

“I will have to cut back on things. For example I like eating out but it might mean having to go to Greggs rather than a restaurant in Derbion.”

Peter Marshall, 64, retired who lives in Derby city centre, added: “I think I’ll be ok as I’m careful with my money and have seen it all before. My worry is for those younger people who may be unsure or don’t know how to keep a lid on things.

“I think the trick will be to buy thermal underwear. It keeps in the heat if you have it.“

Another gentleman, who did not wish to give his name, said: “I saw the news this morning and money expert Martin Lewis was losing it. If someone like him is in despair, then what hope is there for us?”

And another woman added: “It would be nice to have a government in place who can sort this out. There’s no real leader at the moment to sort this out – it’s a real worry. “

Charity leaders have expressed deep concern over how people with disabilities and long-term illnesses will get by. Amo Raju, chief executive of Derby-based charity Disability Direct said hard times were coming.

“It’s become very real”, he said. “I’m incredibly worried. There are many people with disabilities who rely on heating and gas supplies to cope – the idea they may have to sacrifice this to keep costs down is deeply concerning.

“My worry is when all this starts to sink in we are probably going to hear a few nightmare stories on how this is impacting the most vulnerable people. There needs to be an immediate local community response.”

Bosses of Age UK, a leading charity supporting elderly people, have labelled the price cap increase as “frightening” and are calling on the government to take immediate action.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: Although the ballpark figure for the new price cap had been trailed in advance there will be many older people for whom today’s announcement is completely new and a huge shock. Millions of pensioners will now be coming to terms with the reality of what it means for them: the prospect of trying somehow to get through the autumn and winter with prices soaring and yet with very little flex in their fixed incomes. It’s a truly frightening prospect and one that most could not have prepared for, and never expected to face at this point in their lives. I think a lot of older people will be utterly bewildered that it has come to this and will also feel badly let down, and I can’t say I blame them.”

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