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Hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a controversial technique to extract shale gas from rocks, has the potential to drive down energy bills and save low income families from cripplingly high electricity charges, according to the head of the UK’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, reports The Times.

Derek Lickorish’s comments come following days of protests by hundreds of anti-fracking demonstrators in the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, where energy company Cuadrilla Resources has recently begun exploring for shale gas.

Some five million Britons are thought to be at risk of falling into fuel poverty as prices remain high. Earlier in the year, UK gas reserves ran dangerously low as cold spring temperatures drove up demand across northern Europe.