Families in the more deprived areas of the UK are around five times more likely to be disconnected from their energy supplies, according to gas and electricity watchdog energywatch.
The organisation’s research formed part of the evidence presented to the Parliamentary Trade and Industry Select Committee today as part of the TISC inquiry into fuel disconnections.
The findings reveal that 30% of disconnections occur to the poorest 13% of the population and it is a particular problem in London, Bedfordshire, Manchester and the West Midlands. People who are disconnected are more likely to live on low incomes, have multiple debts, have children and be in a single-parent household, according to the research.
The watchdog calls for more disconnection safeguards to protect the vulnerable members of society and wants an end to the possibility of “disconnection in error”, where the wrong household or individual is disconnected.
The chairman of energywatch, Ed Gallagher, said: “Far from being the deterrent to ensure more affluent consumers pay their bills, our research shows that disconnections are mainly hurting those who can least afford it.”