Last reviewed 29 September 2021

Care operators face 100% increases in their energy bills to keep residents warm this winter, according to The Guardian.

The sharp rise in energy prices is driven by a trebling of wholesale 12-month gas contracts over the last five months. The Guardian article outlined how care homes have to keep their heating running constantly and are not protected by a price cap, as are domestic consumers.

Steve Silverwood of ECA Business Energy, who negotiates energy for care operators, said energy price rises this winter could see care homes pay double. He told the newspaper: “The care homes that haven’t already purchased energy for forthcoming renewals are going to see 100% plus increases. A care home can be spending £50,000 plus (on energy) and to double that is unbelievable. It’s frightening times.”

Care Association Alliance Co-chair Melanie Weatherby told the newspaper that many smaller operators wanting to find the cheapest deal signed up to energy companies that have already collapsed. She said, because care home gas use is so high, it will be hard for them to find other suppliers at a reasonable price adding: “This is something the Government needs to take into account in their negotiations with energy companies because you can bet they are doing that with hospitals.”

National Care Association Executive Chair Nadra Ahmed has demanded urgent Government intervention to avoid care home closures. She said the energy price crisis “will make some providers feel they are unsustainable”.

Care providers are also facing higher insurance premiums, falls in care home occupancy, a staffing shortage and the prospect of rising food bills caused by the knock-on effect of gas shortages and reduction in carbon dioxide supply in the food production chain.