Figures released by the National Housing Federation show that many households have gone without power in the past 12 months because they could not afford to pay their energy bills. The figures included a survey of prepayment meter customers, who tend to be on lower incomes but can pay up to £400 more per year for their energy than wealthier customers. In addition the survey found that 14% of all gas prepayment meter customers have 'self disconnected over the last year because they cannot afford to top up their meter'.
As The Socialist Way reported earlier, British Gas has increased charges to domestic costumers by a massive 35%. They have done this whilst millions in Britain are living without basic utilities and millions more are under threat of disconnection or are amassing debts to pay their bills. In 2004, 23,000 households had their energy supplies cut off, amongst them was George Bates,89, and his wife Gertrude, 86, they were found dead weeks after their gas supply was cut off on an unpaid bill of just £140. Mr Bates, a retired postman, had died of hypothermia siting in his armchair and Mrs Bates was found lying on the floor having died of a heart attack. Its should not be of concern that Mr and Mrs Bates, did not pay their bill or even whether they could afford to pay it,although it was subsequently discovered that they had £1.400 in cash in their home and £19.000 in the building society, but what is of concern was the brutal decision made to disconnect the gas supply of two frail pensioners ultimately resulting in their premature deaths, as if British Gas had singed their death warrants.