The analysis by climate charity, Friends of the Earth (FoE), identified 8,972 ‘energy crisis hotspots’ in England and Wales where energy use is high and typical household income is below the national average. The at-risk areas are home to 15.2 million people.
Friends of the Earth have called for government intervention to help vulnerable households cope with a “catastrophic” winter if energy bills keep rising.
The analysis comes as energy regulator Ofgem prepares to announce a new price cap on Friday, which will dramatically increase fuel bills across the country from October.
Bills are set to exceed £3,500 for the average household come October, rising to £4,200 by January, Cornwall Insights consultancy group reports.
Friends of the Earth said the average annual energy bill is already more than 50% higher than it was six months ago.
How affected will your local area be by the energy crisis?
The number of neighbourhoods identified as being energy crisis hotspots by Friends of the Earth varies across the country.
The map below will show you how many communities in your local area which Friends of the Earth identified as being energy crisis hotspots. The darker the colour of the local area the greatest number of at-risk neighbourhoods.
Birmingham was found to have the greatest total number of vulnerable areas with 415 neighbourhoods identified, followed by Bradford with 162 and Cornwall with 150.more councils had 100 or more neighbourhoods classed as energy crisis hotspots: Sandwell, Enfield, County Durham, and Croydon.
The analysis used the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation data to determine neighbourhoods with below average income, combined with smart meters and unmetered fuel consumption to determine areas where energy use is above normal levels.
Proportionally, Fenland had the greatest proportion of neighbourhoods classed as an energy crisis hotspot with 70.9%, followed by Blaenau Gwent with 70.2% and Birmingham with 64.9%.
The Friends of the Earth analysis also looked at the number of homes in energy crisis hotspots needing insulation upgrades. The analysis found 1.2 million homes were in need of cavity wall insulation as well as 1.3 million in need of loft insulation.
Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said the government must increase its package of emergency financial support by channelling money to those least able to pay their energy bills.
"There’s no downplaying how catastrophic this and following winters will be for millions of people if energy bills rise as high as they’re predicted to, unless the Government meaningfully intervenes,” Mr Childs said.
“Instead of woeful and poorly targeted cash handouts, or the promise of tax cuts that won’t help those who need it the most, the government must beef up its package of emergency financial support by channelling money to those least able to pay their energy bills.
"And while vital, this is only a short-term solution. The highest priority of all is fixing the UK’s leaky, inefficient housing stock, otherwise cash handouts will be required year on year.
“By rolling out a free programme of street-by-street energy efficiency measures, prioritising the most in-need neighbourhoods, we can help to bring bills down quickly, make homes warmer and slash Earth-warming emissions at the same time."
Billions of pounds worth of investment
A spokesperson for the government said billions are being invested in improving energy efficiency.
The spokesperson said: "We are investing £6.6 billion in this parliament to improve energy efficiency as part of the government’s ‘Help to Heat’ programme, which is helping make households across the country cheaper to heat."