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Energy price rises will push more into fuel poverty says Citizens Advice

8 July 2011

Responding to today’s price rise announcement by British Gas, Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

"Last year CAB advisers helped with almost 104,000 fuel debt problems. For a lot of people this latest round of price hikes from fuel suppliers will be the final straw that drives them over the edge into serious debt and hardship. We already see cases of self-rationing and self-disconnection where people on low incomes who can't afford rapidly rising gas and electricity bills decide their only option is to go without the heating they need.

"All fuel suppliers need to make it very clear to customers why it is necessary to raise prices by so much now. It’s also vital that they always treat vulnerable customers and those in financial difficulties sympathetically and fairly.

"We would urge anyone already in debt or worried about how they will pay their bill to get advice from their local CAB.  We can help you make sure that you're on the cheapest deal that your supplier provides, look at whether you would be better off switching suppliers, and advise on the help available for making your home more energy efficient."

Since 2008, Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales have been working with OFGEM on the Energy Best Deal* scheme to help people save money on their energy bills.

Citizens Advice

Notes to editors

* For more information on the Energy Best Deal campaign

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
  3. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 7.1 million problems from April 2009 to March 2010, an 18% increase on the previous year. For full 2009/2010 service statistics see: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/press_20100517
  4. Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable. (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
  5. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,300 service outlets across England and Wales.