FUEL poverty levels in Kirklees have shot up after households struggled to pay rocketing utility bills.
A Government report has revealed fuel poverty levels in the region went up by more than 50% in just three years.
In 2006 22,600 homes were fuel poor, but by 2009 it had surged to almost 36,000 homes.
The study by the Department for Energy and Climate Change shows the total number of households in fuel poverty for the years 2006, 2008 and 2009.
It reveals that one in five Kirklees households struggled to afford to heat their homes by 2009.
And the report shows Kirklees has consistently remained more than 2% above the average for England.
Overall, it estimates that 5.5 million households in the UK are fuel poor.
The Government defines fuel poverty as a household that has to spend more than 10% of its income to maintain satisfactory heating – usually 21°C for the main living area, and 18°C for other occupied rooms.
Although the emphasis in the definition is on heating the home, it also includes spending on hot water, lighting, electricity and cooking.
In 2009, 35,900 households – almost 21% of all those in the region – were deemed as being in fuel poverty.
In contrast, the England and Wales average was 18.4%.
But both figures are dramatically higher than in 2006.
That year there were 22,600 households in fuel poverty in Kirklees – more than 13,000 (7.1%) fewer.