North of England and Wales are fuel poverty ‘hot spots’

Customers in North Wales and Merseyside have the least affordable energy in the UK.

Merseyside and North Wales have the highest annual default bills at £1,197 per year and one of the lowest average incomes – which means energy costs 7.7 per cent of the average income.

The second areas for unaffordable energy are the relatively rural North East of England alongside Central and South Wales, according to the Energy Helpline Household Gas and Electricity Affordability Index for Winter 2016.

The comparison site’s index found that London and the South East of the country were the most affordable for energy, with the typical annual dual fuel bill for a customer in London costing £1,137.

Energy Helpline co-founder Mark Todd said: “Staying warm in the winter shouldn’t be a luxury but in many less well-off UK towns and cities it is. While the official fuel poverty stats have been abolished and at the same time food bank use has spiraled, we can reveal millions of families continue to live in fuel poverty and the hotspots for this are the North and Wales.

“The North of England and Wales are getting hammered. A disproportionate number of people there are struggling to afford their energy – getting into debt or living in cold homes.”

The comparison site says that the main reason for these variations is transportation costs to rural and western regions where the network is less efficient and because gas tends to be imported into the East of the country.