Rising energy bills are forcing care homes to close

Up to a third of UK care homes could be at risk of closure because they can’t afford rising energy bills.

This could leave hundreds of vulnerable and elderly people without a home, the sector has warned. 

Care England highlighted that energy bills for care homes had increased by 500% in the last year due to the ongoing energy crisis. 

Concerns that gas suppliers are profiting from small businesses have also been raised by a number of energy customers. 

Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, says: “There can be no justification for charging such horrendous and financially crippling rates.”

Ofgem, the official regulator for the UK, has echoed these concerns. Its chief executive, Jonathan Brearley told the chancellor, Jeremey Hunt, that energy distributors appear to be charging inexplicably high prices that do not equate to the market price for gas. 

Security deposits and standing charges for small business owners were also highlighted as being significantly more expensive than expected. 

Brearley reminded the chancellor that the regulator does not necessarily have the legal standing to make any changes here, but is currently working towards finding a “commonsense” solution.

The care home sector has been hit particularly hard by the energy crisis, with vulnerable residents needing warmth to stay well. This is even more of a challenge given facilities have to juggle keeping residents warm, with keeping rooms ventilated to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. 

“The underlying financial fragility of the sector and energy-intensive nature of services has meant providers are pushed further into what was already an incredibly precarious situation,” adds Green.

carlette Isaac

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