Fuel costs for pensioners double in seven years

In 2012 UK pensioners spent a total of £17.4 billion on heating and and electricity in the home, a figure double that of seven years ago, a study has revealed.

The average annual spend for the UKs over 65s has increased from £668.98 in 2005 to £1355.90 in 2012.

Criticism of energy companies throughout 2012 was often focused on further price increases to their tariffs. The majority announced further rises throughout last year and at the start of 2013, placing increased financial pressure on many already struggling with the cost of heating and powering their homes.

As inflation stretches many pension incomes to the limit, pensioners may be worst affected by the energy price increases. 

Recent research surveying those over 50 has shown that over half are worrying about fuel bills, with around 7 million saying that they are already struggling.

The report from Saga coincides with news that the government is considering introducing means testing the winter fuel allowance. Although means testing means that the allowance would still be available for those most in need, it could leave many more pensioners worse off.

Dr Ros Altmann, from Saga comments:

"Energy prices are continuing to increase and we are still to feel the full effects of the latest price rises so energy costs are likely to put even more of a financial strain on households in 2013.

"While incomes have increased in the last seven years, they have not kept pace with the rate that energy and fuel costs have risen. This is especially true for older people who are often on lump or fixed incomes or whose savings income has fallen.

"Inflation rates remain higher for the over-50s, reflecting in part the fact that utility prices are much higher. We know from our own research just how much of a burden energy prices are on the finances of those faced with fixed or dwindling incomes, especially older generations, of whom 29% are having to raid savings every month in order to make ends meet."