The vulnerability of older people during the winter months means more could become seriously ill without access to cheap energy deals.
According to Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, many older householders are not receiving the best cheap gas and electricity prices from their energy suppliers.
"It is vital that all energy companies automatically place older people receiving pension credit onto a social tariff - but as it stands, different companies offer different schemes, and some have limits on the numbers they will accept, so it is very difficult for older people to make the most of them," he explained.
Those who are vulnerable to the cold have to keep their room temperature high to stay healthy and are likely to spend a lot of time indoors, Mr Bottery pointed out, so rising fuel prices can be "a real strain".
His comments come after figures from the Office for National Statistics found there was a significant drop in excess winter deaths in 2009-10, with 25,400 people dying from the cold. This is down 30 per cent from the number who passed away during the milder winter of 2008-9.
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