Dozens of homes in Bolton are set to be worst impacted by the energy crisis when the price cap rises in October, new analysis suggests.

Analysis by Friends of the Earth shows 58 out of 177 neighbourhoods in Bolton are at greatest risk of financial hardship when the price cap rises in October.

It means 33 per cent of neighbourhoods in the area are among the worst impacted across England and Wales.

Bolton Homeless Aid UK’s co-founder Billa Ahmed says he is increasingly worried about the rise expected and says many of the people coming to him don’t know how they will pay their bills.

He said: “We are already getting a lot of people who are having to choose whether to heat their homes or eat.

“This is going to affect everybody and people are going to struggle.

The Bolton News: Homeless Aid UK concerned as we head into winterHomeless Aid UK concerned as we head into winter (Image: Newsquest)

“The money given from the Government will get swallowed up with the first increase in October and then after that in January.

“The Government have got to do something before the October increase.

“We just have to stay strong and do what we can and look out for each other, especially the elderly and the vulnerable.”

Billa also explained that there were also people within his organisation that were finding it difficult to pay their bills.

Bolton South’s MP Yasmin Qureshi said on Tuesday 23 August that Labour “wouldn’t let people pay a penny more” on their winter fuel bill as Labour leader Keir Starmer announced plans on Monday 15 August to address the cost of living crisis.

Ms Qureshi said that the party’s plan to stop bills rising this winter would save the average household in Bolton £1,000, get energy costs under control for the future, and help tackle inflation.

Ms Qureshi said: “Families across Bolton are scared about how they’ll get through the winter with bills through the roof.

The Bolton News: The energy cap rise is expected in OctoberThe energy cap rise is expected in October

“Labour’s plan to save households Bolton and across the North West £1,000 this winter, and invest in sustainable British energy to bring bills down in the long-term, is a direct response to the national economic emergency that is leaving families fearing for the future. 

“Labour’s fully-funded plan would fix the problems immediately and for the future – helping people in Bolton get through the winter while providing the foundations for a stronger, more secure economy.”

Labour leader Cllr Nick Peel said: "The analysis does not come as a surprise as the energy bills crisis is a financial time bomb that's going to explode on families thus year, and the Government is sleep walking into this disaster.

“The £150 energy grant, wrongly described as a Council tax rebate, is woefully inadequate.

“In addition, thousands of Bolton people are not claiming it as they believe they are not eligible.

“Time is running out and urgent action is needed.

The Bolton News: Homeless Aid concerned for the coming winterHomeless Aid concerned for the coming winter

“Labour's energy plan means we work stop the price cap going up, saving households £1,000 this year.

“But we would also invest in sustainable, home-grown energy, to bring bills down in the long term."

Cllr Sue Haworth, who represents the Harper Green ward said: “Harper Green ward includes substantial numbers of residents without savings to draw on to pay these increasing bills.

“In fact, this ward is home to some of the around 32,500 borough residents, Bolton Citizens Advice tell us, right now, who are in serious money trouble and in debt on rent and bills." 

“There are residents in old draughty homes here facing this bills scandal, wanting to tape up their heating switches, very scared of the bills to come.

“There is lots of anger on the streets about rising energy costs and on the Conservatives lack of action.

“Personally, I’m sick of seeing adverts for residents to ‘tighten their belts’.

“Residents deserve a better Government response than this.

“There are far too many people here facing uncertainty and fear.”   

Nationally, nearly 9,000 areas have been classed as "energy crisis hotspots".

Friends of the Earth analysed smart meters and unmetered fuel consumption to determine areas where energy use is above normal levels.

It says areas with above-average costs and lower than average household income are defined as energy crisis hotspots.

Cornwall Insights predicts that after the price cap has risen in October, an average household will pay bills of more than £3,600 per year, significantly more than double the £1,400 figure last October.

The Bolton News: Homeless Aid UK concerned as we head into winterHomeless Aid UK concerned as we head into winter

From January, this is predicted to further increase to £4,300 and the consultancy group expects bills to remain high throughout 2023.

Energy regulator Ofgem is due to announce the new price cap – which will come into effect at the start of October – on Friday, August 26.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it is providing £37bn worth of support to help households during the cost-of-living crisis.

In Bolton, 10,140 homes require cavity wall insulation and 7,640 need loft insulation.

Nationally, they are among 1.2m and 1.3m homes needing these improvements respectively.

A spokesperson for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: "We are investing £6.6bn in this parliament to improve energy efficiency as part of the Government’s 'Help to Heat' programme, which is helping make households across the country cheaper to heat."

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