UK house fire warning as residents try to cut energy bills | UK costs for life emergencies | Daily News Byte

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Fire authorities have urged caution when using candles, wood burners and electric heaters to cut energy bills this Christmas after a recent house fire.

This month flat fires in Uxbridge and Harwich were caused by candles; Fire chiefs in Cumbria, Hereford and Worcester reported more fires because homeowners used chimneys and candles; And last month a tumble dryer that was used overnight to save money in Wakefield caught fire.

Ofgem figures released on Thursday showed the average annual electricity bill was £1,297, compared to £815 last year, and the average annual gas bill fell from £602 to £1,336, a total increase of 86%. Rising food prices have meant that the ingredients for a typical Christmas dinner have risen by around 30% compared to last year.

“Many people are looking for ways to cut costs and save money as we try to manage energy bills and the impact of inflation,” said Frank Biderman, a Devon County Councilor and Chair of the Local Government Association’s Fire Service Management Committee. “It is important that this is not at the expense of staying safe … We are urging people to prevent tragedy by following a few simple safety measures, including making sure your home has a working smoke alarm and testing it regularly, which can save lives. Your life or that of a loved one.”

It said candles should never be left unattended, combustible furniture and drying clothes should be kept away from heaters and fires, proper fuel should be used for wood-burning stoves, and open fires and chimneys should be swept.

Energy operators have said incidents of people tampering with gas and electricity meters have increased by 400% between 2017 and 2021 and predict the trend will continue with a further 16% increase this year.

Police have discovered that a deadly fire in Glasgow was started by a spark from a prepayment meter that had been illegally bypassed. The Energy Networks Association said operators are seeing DIY attempts to tamper with meters that often lead to exposing live electricity conductors or opening holes in gas supply pipes.

The National Fire Chiefs Council said accidental house fires caused by candles in England totaled 940 in the year ending March 2022, the highest recorded in more than 10 years. About a third of these fires resulted in death or injury.

“The NFCC is concerned that these figures may rise as more members of the public come to understand ways of dealing with rising costs as the rate of inflation rises,” it said.

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