John Hannon climbs into a bed covered by three duvets to keep him warm when his heating runs out.

He says he is dreading the next few months as the cold weather sets in.

The retired dementia nurse lives with crippling arthritis, and has been on a hospital waiting list for treatment for the past six years. The freezing temperatures of the past week have made his condition worse, more painful, and often difficult to bear.

He told RTÉ's This Week programme that it costs €80 per week to heat his small apartment in Ballyfermot in Dublin.

He spends €20 to top up a gas meter, a further €20 on electricity, and he also has a portable heater which runs on a gas bottle, costing €40 per week.

Last week he said he couldn’t afford to pay for the portable heater, which has increased in cost by €5 a week.

"I leave the heating on for an hour and a half in the morning and afternoon, and then an hour and a half at night."

"Later in the afternoon, I’ll have to switch off what I have on and just get under the covers. I actually have to use three duvets, and it’s around 1-degree at nighttime, and I’m still freezing in bed."

Because of his arthritis, keeping warm is essential: "It’s a great bonus to keep warm," he says, "the less you go out in this weather, the better, but you’re always going to suffer with pain".

John, who is a service user of the charity ALONE, spends his day at home "watching television, and looking out the window at people". He finds it difficult to go outside, because of his medical condition.

He is critical of the Government plan to offer a €100 rebate on people’s energy bills.

"The electricity and gas went up twice last year. But they’re not going to give us €100 next year. This is to soften us up," he says.

"I would love for politicians to sit here for a month on my income. They have us in poverty, the Government do not understand what it’s like to live here…sitting here on your own, morning, noon, and night.

"I wasn’t looking forward to the winter the last two or three years, because I knew I would just be sitting here like this," he says.

"The last couple of months, when I saw the brightness fading away, I was dreading it, and I’m sitting here now and I’m dreading the next couple of months."

On the front line of the fuel poverty crisis- Listen to John's story here

Separately, Chief Executive of ALONE Seán Moynihan said thousands of older people are impacted by fuel poverty which greatly affects their quality of life.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, he said the increase in energy costs has a huge effect on their physical and mental health and the difficult choices they have to make regarding how they live.

While he said an allowance is welcome, he believes between gas and electricity and carbon tax the average increase this year per household will be €800, which will swallow up most of that allowance.

He said it compromises people's ability to eat and heat properly.

Mr Moynihan believes a fuel allowance is needed going forward that "has more weeks in it and more relationship to energy prices and is targeted".

"This does affect those with fixed incomes the most, those in the poorest BER rating houses," he added.

He said it is as much a public health issue as it is a social issue and those who need to should register with an energy provider as a vulnerable customer.