Out of Energy
We are calling on government to help families with disabled children with their higher energy costs.
Take action now – sign our open letter from families to the Chancellor and Energy Minister.
Why we’re campaigning
Families with disabled children reliant on life-saving electrical equipment are already paying £600 a year more for their energy.
And with families expecting to pay higher-than-average energy bills of more than £3,000 this year, 40% fear that the consequences — such as turning off heating and reducing the use of vital aids — will worsen their child’s condition.
“My son has multiple machines on charge every day – SATs monitors, suction machine, profiling bed, feeding pump, neb machine, air purifier, lights are on day and night as we have carers. I just can’t afford to carry on paying £300 per month, this is just too much. I don’t know what we are going to do.”Parent carer
On Friday 29 April the BBC exclusively revealed the findings from our Out of Energy survey on their new Access All podcast.
Based on responses from 5,499 families in March 2022, we found that:
- UK households with disabled children had average energy bills of £1,909 per year in the last 12 months – £600 more than the average household bill.
- During this winter, 42% went without heating and 10% went without vital electric-powered disability equipment because they were unaffordable to run.
- Families estimate they pay £74 per month to run disability aids and equipment, such as adjustable beds, ceiling track hoists, wheelchair chargers, feeding and suction pumps.
- From April, families with disabled children expect their annual energy bills to be more than £3,000 per year – almost double that of an average UK household.
Download the full survey report [PDF] and national/regional breakdown [.xlsx]
Watch Emma Foster from Wigan on BBC Breakfast and our Head of Campaign, Una Summerson talking about our Out of Energy findings.
Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. We really appreciate it.
What we want
The Chancellor failed to recognise the huge extra costs of disabled households in his Spring Statement.
In response to our findings, we are now calling on the government to put this right.
- The £200 energy rebate announced in February to be made into a non-repayable grant for disabled households.
- The government to look again at proposed changes to the Warm Home Discount Scheme in July to ensure it helps more families who have higher than average bills due to disability. Currently, the changes do not take into account the impact of disability on energy costs.
- Disability benefits to be uprated in line with current inflation. Although they were uprated in April, this was based on September 2021’s inflation figures. Due to a huge surge in inflation in recent months, families are actually getting a significant real terms cut in financial support.
“Our research found that 85% of families with disabled children use more energy due to their child’s condition. Essential equipment like ventilators, food pumps and hoists as well as more washing due to continence issues or more heating due to mobility issues all add up to bigger bills. And for many it would be dangerous to cut back on usage.
Families are left with impossible choices. Already this winter, almost half have gone without heating and one in 12 has gone without vital disability aids. Many are forced into unmanageable debt just to keep their kids safe. It was hugely disappointing that the Chancellor’s statement gave nothing to help disabled households cope with unprecedented soaring prices.”Amanda Batten, Contact CEO
What you can do
We’ve written an open letter to the Chancellor and Energy Minister calling on his government to do more to help disabled households with energy costs.
Alongside our open letter from families, we’ve also sent the Chancellor a letter from more than 50 other charities calling for more help.
Cost of living crisis: 6 things all families with disabled children can do now
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