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Posted by John King
British people may be unable to afford their energy bills if prices creep up much more, according to a new poll.
Household bills have already doubled in the past eight years and this means that if the trend continues, they could break the £1,500 a year barrier by 2015 and even £2,766 a year by 2018.
However, £1,500 is the tipping point at which energy bills will become unaffordable for the average person in the UK, uSwitch.com found.
After this, 77 per cent of homes will be forced to ration their use of things like home heating oil and electricity, while 59 per cent will go without adequate heating and 36 per cent will switch it off entirely.
This could lead to a sudden increase in deaths and health problems, particularly among the elderly.
The figures also do not take into account changes that could be made in line with government plans to cut carbon emissions.
Ann Robinson from uSwitch.com's consumer policy division said: "The UK is hurtling towards a cliff beyond which the price of household energy will become unaffordable. Once the average bill hits £1,500 a year, consumers will be forced to compromise on their comfort, health and wellbeing."
Almost a third of respondents to the survey said they already find household energy unaffordable.
It comes in the same week that the Annual Report on Fuel Poverty Statistics 2011 was presented in parliament and showed that Northern Ireland is the worst country in the UK for fuel poverty.
Homeowners may wish to take action to protect themselves from this, including comparing prices for home heating oil, electricity and other fuels and installing smart meters to measure energy use.
Better insulation will also stop the heat that is used from escaping and could cut hundreds of pounds a year off bills.
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