Many pensioners in the north of England could choose to compare energy companies as their bills have risen by a factor of ten over the past decade.
The Press and Journal reports prices have risen faster than the state pension, leaving many elderly residents in danger of falling into fuel poverty.
Danny Alexander, a Liberal Democrat MP in the region, was told recently by the Highland Senior Citizens Network that greater clarity is needed with regard to the different tariffs available, while a lack of insulation also needs to be addressed.
Mr Alexander told the paper: "People are forced to make decisions that no one should be made to make - should I heat my home or put food on the table? That's why it's so important to get energy bills down."
He added there is a danger the number of excess winter deaths could reach 50,000 this year unless the issues are more effectively addressed.
All the major energy companies increased their prices during 2008, blaming high wholesale costs.
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