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UK's National Grid launches 50 million pound energy support fund

People walk outside the Houses of Parliament at sunset following a thunderstorm in London

By Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's National Grid said on Tuesday it has launched a 50 million pound ($58 million) fund to provide financial relief for consumers struggling with rising energy costs for over the next two winters.

The fund will target charities which provide immediate, emergency financial support to households using pre-payment energy meters, charities which fund energy efficiency measures and charities which provide advisory services for households who need help with energy bills, payments and debt.

Many people in Britain are already struggling to weather a cost-of-living crisis, with rising energy bills piling on top of higher food prices and rising inflation.

As wholesale gas and power prices have soared over the past year, the knock-on effect on household and business' retail bills has become more pronounced, plunging millions into fuel poverty.

"We're under no illusions that this winter will be financially very, very hard for many people and we're determined to play our part to help ease the financial burden that households will face," said John Pettigrew, chief executive of National Grid.

The Fuel Bank Foundation, which gives emergency financial support to households with a prepayment meter who are at risk of living without power, will receive 10 million pounds from the fund.

Citizens Advice and Affordable Warmth Solutions, which provides new, free home insulation to households which do not qualify for government schemes, will also receive 10 million pounds each, National Grid said.

($1 = 0.8688 pounds)

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)