MORE than a quarter (26%) of adults across the region are concerned they will have to go without gas or electricity for a period of time this winter, new research shows.

The study, conducted by YouGov, also reveals that almost half will reduce their heating use, while some (4%) are prepared to reduce the number of hot meals they have in order to save money on utility bills.

Despite the ‘heat or eat’ dilemma being widespread, 54% of those surveyed from Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and north Wiltshire  said they were unaware of any financial help or advice being offered to those who are in difficulty.

To help those facing this tough choice, energy provider Npower is launching an independent charity, Npower Foundation, by expanding its Fuel Bank network, which provides support for people in fuel crisis with two weeks of emergency gas and electricity.

The company is asking for donations to the charity and will match the first £50,000.

Matthew Cole, Npower’s head of social energy and trustee of the Npower Foundation, said: "Fuel Bank users tell us how a simple fuel voucher can make a world of difference to both them and their family members, not only providing power, heat and light, but also by reducing anxiety and worry.

"It was because of this that Npower was determined to act, to help more people above those benefitting from the existing £1m commitment to the Fuel Bank."

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