British households face fuel poverty as energy prices skyrocket

(Reuters, 16 Feb 2022) Many people in Britain are struggling to weather a cost-of-living crisis, with rising fuel bills putting further strain on household budgets.

Whenever Sam's hand hovers over the heating control at his home in southern England, he faces a grim dilemma: turn it up and erode his meagre food budget, or turn it down and risk another spell in hospital.

The 28-year old, who has a liver condition that causes his body temperature to drop dangerously low, said he had been admitted to hospital four times so far this winter after trying to limit his heating bills due to soaring energy costs.

"I've ended up in hospital, having oxygen, having blood tests, having IV lines and blankets and things to keep me warm," said Sam, who asked not to give his full name.

"It's very stressful, because I'm trying to focus on my health," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Countries across Europe have been facing a spike in energy costs as a perfect storm of factors have sent natural gas prices soaring to record highs in recent months.

Greek farmers staged a tractor convoy to demand more help with energy bills, while Turkey's opposition leader refused to pay his power bill in protest at price hikes, and Britain and France have both seen protests over the cost of living.

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Reuters, 16 Feb 2022: British households face fuel poverty as energy prices skyrocket