A new survey, released by Friends of the Earth, shows that 66 percent of Britons are concerned about their elderly friends and relatives this winter in light of recent energy price increases. Of the 66 percent who expressed concern, 20 percent indicated that they were ‘very concerned’ about the ability of the elderly to stay warm. 

The survey follows fresh evidence released by the Committee of Climate Change which confirmed that the main driver behind rising energy bills was the higher cost of gas.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 49 percent blamed the excessive profiteering of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies for the hike in energy bills. Only 8 percent of those surveyed thought the main reason behind the recent rise in energy bills was due to increased investment in energy efficiency measures and developing energy from sun, wind and wave power.

Almost 99 percent of the energy people use in their homes is supplied by the ‘Big Six’ energy companies. Gas is currently used to generate nearly half of the UK’s electricity. Friends of the Earth is calling for a public inquiry into the influence of the Big Six and the nation’s dependence on foreign fossil fuel.

The charity’s Executive Director, Andy Atkins, said: “For millions up and down the country, this Christmas will be blighted by worry about energy bills and fears for elderly relatives.

“The rising cost of gas and is ruining lives and yet our energy firms and politicians are keeping us hooked on it.

“We need the Government to help stop our homes leaking heat and get tough on the big energy companies profiting from our broken energy system.”

Friends of the Earth is calling on the British public to get behind their Final Demand campaign by joining the 200,000 people who have already signed its petition to persuade David Cameron not to axe support for clean British energy produced by communities, councils, business and householders.

Friends of the Earth, joined by Solarcentury and Homesun, recently won the right to take the Government to court over its proposed slashing by more than half of financial support for small-scale solar energy production. The hearing is set to take place on December 20 and 21.