PENSIONERS in Oxfordshire should shop around for cheaper energy suppliers said an advice centre after Southern Electric announced an average price jump of 8.2 per cent.

On Thursday SSE Energy, which covers 90 per cent of the county, announced bills would rise by an average £2 per week – around £104 a year – from November 15.

Witney pensioner Cyril Burford, 85, said: “There will be times when we just can’t have the heating on, we will just have to be sitting in blankets in the lounge. I can see that happening.

“It will be quite difficult to try and meet the bills. We were just on the borderline last year.

“My wife is 80 and I am 85 and as you get older you get colder.”

Minster Lovell pensioner Davis Holloway, 68, said: “What can you do? You have to pay or you don’t get heating or electricity, but you either freeze or you have to pay.”

Southern Electric said the increase was down to Government-imposed levies, and rising costs of buying and delivering electricity.

It distributes to 250,000 homes across Oxfordshire.

Joint manager of the Barton Advice Centre, Suzy Drohan, pictured, said: “It is going to have a massive impact.

“If people find they are in difficulty they should speak to their energy supplier, shop around for cheaper deals from other enery suppliers, or go to their local advice centre.”

Will Morris, Southern Electric group retail managing director, said: “We don’t take these decisions lightly.

“We know we will come in for a great deal of criticism.”