Statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have been published, revealing that fuel poverty in the UK has risen by more than 20%.
In 2009, there were around 5.5 million fuel-poor households in the UK, up from 4.5 million in 2008. In England, there were around 4 million fuel-poor households, up from 3.3 million in 2008.
The increase in fuel poverty between 2008 and 2009 was largely due to rising prices. Gas prices rose by 14% and electricity prices by 5 % between 2008 and 2009.
DECC says rising incomes, improvements in the energy efficiency of housing and social and discounted tariffs continue to help some households from falling into fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty among vulnerable households, defined as the elderly, children or somebody who is disabled or long-term sick, for 2009 stood at 4.5 million UK households, up 0.75 million from 2008, and 3.2 million households (England), up 0.5 million from 2008.
DECC's projections for England indicate there are likely to be around 4 million fuel-poor households in 2010 and 4.1 million households in 2011. Although some price rises will impact on households in the latter half of 2011, it will be 2012 before the full impact of these are visible in the fuel poverty data.
A spokesperson for DECC said: "Actual fuel poverty figures for 2010 and 2011 will only be known when we have detailed results of the surveys on household income and efficiency programmes, and will be available for publication in 2011 and 2012 respectively."