The difficulties many elderly people face in finding cheap gas and electricity prices may be reflected in new figures showing winter death rates in England and Wales.
Data released this week by the Office for National Statistics revealed there were around 25,700 additional fatalities last winter than would normally be expected.
Commenting on the figures, director of independent price comparison service Energyhnelpline.com Mark Todd said they are indicative of a serious problem in the UK.
He observed high energy prices have led to many vulnerable individuals facing a choice between heating and eating, while many pensioners are relying on hot water bottles and living in one room in order to avoid turning on their central heating.
Mr Todd added: "There is a silent crisis going on, particularly among older age groups. This is a crisis that few want to admit for reasons of pride."
The situation was also criticised by energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Dave Timms, who said it is a "national disgrace".
He added the death of thousands of elderly people due to unaffordable heating bills and cold homes is a tragedy that could be entirely prevented if the government takes action.
This was echoed by Mr Todd, who urged the coalition to reverse cuts to the winter fuel allowance that has seen those aged over 80 lose £100.
He continued: "We would also urge people to contact price comparison websites either online or on the phone to see the big savings of up to £300 they could make by switching suppliers."
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