IT is shocking to see that household energy bills have increased by 33 per cent in the last year, exceeding £1,200 per annum and twice the average bill five years ago.

High energy prices in Wales are compounded by poor housing stock quality, low income and poverty.

Nearly a quarter of households in Wales experience fuel poverty, resulting in 320,000 households having to spend 10 per cent or more of their income on energy to heat their homes adequately. This may result in a choice between heating and powering their homes as well as eating properly. In Wales, 50,547 households in debt to electricity suppliers and 46,588 in debt to gas suppliers.

The impact of fuel poverty goes beyond financial consequences. Living in fuel poverty can affect people’s health, increasing the risk of common ailments such as colds, flu and respiratory infections including bronchitis. This has resulted in excess of 1500 winter deaths per year in Wales, with older people particularly susceptible.

But did your readers know that there is free support to help reduce your energy bills. If you own or privately rent your home, and yourself or someone you live with receive a means tested benefit or your working tax credit is below £15,910 a year, then you may qualify for support from the Welsh Governments Nest fuel poverty scheme, such as:

• Wall and loft insulation

• Replacement central heating boiler

• Renewable energy technologies

• Energy saving tips

• Benefit entitlement checks

Just call Freephone 0808 808 2244 or log onto or write to Nest Programme, Innova One, Trdegar Business Park, NP22 3EL

Cllr Rob Curtis

Barry Labour Councillor