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Fuel poverty 'spiralling', warns lobby group

Energy prices have risen by 7% on average this year, taking the average annual direct debit bill to £1,247, says BBC in its 17 December 2012 online edition. A household is considered to be in fuel poverty if more than 10% of its income is spent on home heating. The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, which is funded by the Department of Energy, estimates that nine million people could meet that criteria by 2016, and that 300,000 additional homes will be added to that figure this winter alone (n.r. 2012 - 2013). Consumer groups want the government to use some of the £4bn in annual carbon taxes set to be collected to help tackle this issue - including a more ambitious programme of home insulation. From 2013, energy firms will be required to cut the number of different tariffs on offer to four, and place customers on the cheapest available price in their chosen tariff.

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