By Leo Stevens
Older people have in found it increasingly more difficult to heat their homes in recent winters as energy bills have soared, according to over 50s insurance firm Saga.
The company discovered that energy bills for people aged over 65 have more than doubled since 2005. It emerged that the average annual cost of energy bills for this age group was £1,355.90 last year, compared to just £668.98 seven years previously.
Saga went on to reveal that 12.9 million retired people spent approximately £17.4 billion on electricity and fuel bills in 2012.
As a result, nearly six in 10 (58 per cent) people aged over 65 are worried about paying for heating this winter and more than three in 10 (35 per cent) are already having difficulty paying utility bills.
Potentially more worryingly the age group is that Saga's figures do not take recent energy price hikes into account, and Saga director-general Ros Altmann said 29 per cent of retired people had to dip into their savings in order to pay their bills every month.
She added: "We are still to feel the full effects of the latest price rises so energy costs are likely to put even more of a financial strain on households in 2013.
"While incomes have increased in the last seven years, they have not kept pace with the rate that energy and fuel costs have risen, meaning that people are spending more of their income on fuel.
"This is especially true for older people who are often on lump or fixed incomes, or whose savings income has fallen."
It has not been a good week regarding news of retired people's financial health as Prudential revealed people planning to retire in 2013 expect to live on the lowest annual income for six years.
Those people planning to give up work in 2013 expect to do so with an annual average income of £15,300. This amounts to £3,400 a year less than those who retired in 2008, according to Prudential.
On the positive side, Britain's premier statistician revealed that the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which is a key measure of inflation and often linked to retirement incomes, should stay at its current rate.
Even small changes to RPI can mean the value of annuities that are linked to it can fluctuate by thousands of pounds over the course of their existence.