One in five households in deprived areas of Stevenage is living in fuel poverty, which could encourage people to switch gas providers for a different cheap energy tariff.
According to a year-long study carried out by councillors, many families are struggling to pay their bills and heat their homes, and this is compounded by a policy that encourages them to stay in energy inefficient properties.
Older housing stock is harder to heat and many houses contain mildew and damp, the report found.
Marian Hurle, manager of the town's Citizen Advice Bureau, commented that energy suppliers' price hikes are adding to the problems.
She added: "Since one or two companies have put up their prices and others will probably follow suit, this is going to tip even more people into debt and fuel poverty."
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