One in 20 'hardest hit' by energy costs

Northumberland is energy bill 'hotspot'Northumberland is energy bill 'hotspot'
Northumberland is energy bill 'hotspot'
One in 20 homes in Northumberland are set to be among the worst hit by the energy crisis, new analysis suggests.

Analysis by the environmental group Friends of the Earth shows six per cent of neighbourhoods in the area are at the greatest risk of financial hardship when the price cap rises in October.

Nationally, nearly 9,000 areas have been classed as "energy crisis hotspots".

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Friends of the Earth also say 3,60 homes in Northumberland require cavity wall insulation and 3,470 need loft insulation.

The charity analysed smart meters and unmetered fuel consumption to determine areas where energy use is above normal levels, above-average costs and lower than average household income.

Experts predict that after the price cap has risen in October, an average household will pay bills of more than £3,600 per year - more than double the £1,400 figure last October.

Energy regulator Ofgem is due to announce the new price cap – which will come into effect at the start of October – on Friday, August 26.

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Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at the charity, said the Government must "beef up its package of emergency financial support" and protect the most vulnerable to soaring price rises.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said it is providing £37bn worth of support to help households during the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Childs said: The highest priority of all is fixing the UK’s leaky, inefficient housing stock, otherwise cash handouts will be required year on year.

A BEIS spokesperson said: "We are investing £6.6bn to improve energy efficiency, helping make households across the country cheaper to heat."