Over-60s rate energy most important bill

More than a quarter of over-60s rate energy as their most important essential item, according to new research.

Pollsters YouGov found that 29 per cent of respondents prized gas and electricity more highly than food, clothes, their mortgage and other utilities.

But the research, conducted on behalf of EDF Energy, also found that more than a third of over-60s were paying more than they needed to for their energy.

Of those interviewed, 37 per cent were unaware of how to apply for the benefits and entitlements available to help cut their bills.

Almost half of respondents (47 per cent) thought they might be eligible for certain benefits but said they found available information too confusing.

EDF said it was creating a new post of energy advice manager to increase the uptake among the elderly of the benefits to which they are entitled.

Help the Aged said £5bn worth of benefits were going unclaimed each year.

Mervyn Kohler, special adviser to the charity, said: "Help the Aged welcomes any move by energy companies to help clarify what is currently a confusing issue for older people.

"There is help available from energy companies and government departments to assist pensioners yet they don't know where to go to get the information from."

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