High gas and electricity bills mean that seven million people are living in fuel poverty this winter, according to the National Housing Federation (NHF).
A new survey by the housing charity found that many people were not heating their homes properly because they were concerned about the cost. The latest figures suggest three million more people are living in fuel poverty than the government estimated.
Households are considered to be in a state of fuel poverty when they spend ten per cent or more of their income on gas and electricity.
David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: "The spiralling cost of energy and the impact of the downturn mean heating our homes has become a luxury rather than a basic necessity particularly for the elderly, low paid and unemployed."
A YouGov poll, which was undertaken in conjunction with the NHF research, found that over 60 per cent of people are "worried" about paying their gas and electricity bills.
It was suggested recently in an article in the Times that customers who took out a fixed energy tariff when wholesale prices were high could save money by paying the cancelation fee and shopping for a cheaper deal online.
Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.