Husband who had to sell dead wife’s belongings ‘can only afford to heat one room’

A disabled man has shared his fears ahead of the coming winter as Ofgem revealed the staggering rise in the energy bill cap.

Energy bills will rise by more than 80% according to the new limit set by the energy regulator announced this morning.

The average gas and electricty bills for someone on a default tariff paying by direct debit will soar to £3,549 from October.

Jason Alcock from Stoke – where residents are among the worst hit by fuel poverty in the UK – has said he will only be able to afford to heat one room in his house this winter.

The 51-year-old has autism, ADHD and bipolar disorder which make it difficult for him to find work.

Mr Alcock lost his wife, Paola, to Leukemia in 2018, and has since been forced to sell her possessions to cover his rising bills.

“It’s crazy. There’s absolutely no way people can afford this kind of price rise. I’m shocked by it,” he told the PA news agency.

“I thought they would have pulled back on it. I thought we wouldn’t have this, what they call ‘zombie government’ with no-one in charge.

“We’re coming up to winter now. When winter starts and people can’t put their heating on… I’ll be heating one room in my house, but people have got children.

“The area I live in is a pretty low income area and there’s a lot of people on the breadline and they are going to suffer.”

The energy price cap rise has been described as “beyond a disaster” by UNISON who represent working families, while Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis branded it “hideous” and warned “lives will be lost” in the months ahead.

“What can you do?” Stoke resident Jason added. “I am at the point where I’m trying to buy cheaper stuff but the prices across the board have gone up. I know this is happening, but what can I do?

“I’ve cancelled my direct debit for both gas and electric because they were saying I should pay something like £300 a month to cover it. So I said screw that, and cancelled it.

“And instead I set up a standing order, and I pay £75 into my electric and £25 into my gas per month, and I know at the end of the year there’s going to be a big bill but that’s what I can comfortably afford with other cost of living rises like the food shop and that, which has got to come first.”

Ofgem’s chief executive Jonathan Brearley meanwhile urged the incoming Prime Minister and Cabinet to provide additional support in the winter months.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said the increase in the energy price cap would cause “stress and anxiety” for people, but that the Government was working to develop more options to support households with a £400 energy discount coming from October, spread out over six months.

This hasn’t been updated since May, however, and experts such as Mr Lewis have warned that this will not be enough to cover the rise.