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43 per cent of people worry they can't afford their next fuel bill

16 January 2012

43% of people are worried they can’t afford their next fuel bill and one in two say energy bills will put a strain on their finances this year, according to new figures released today from Citizens Advice at the start of its Big Energy Week which will help people save money on their fuel bills.

Big Energy Week (16-21 January 2012) will see advisers across country help people spend less on heating and powering their home.  The Week is supported by Consumer Focus, Which?, Energy UK, energy companies, charities, accredited switching sites, Ofgem and the Government. (See end for details of advice event at Westfield which Secretary of State, Chris Huhne will be attending).

Citizens Advice, Chief Executive, Gillian Guy said:

“We know hikes in prices have put extra pressure on people’s budgets at a time when money is already tight. Day in day out our bureaux helping people who can’t afford their fuel bills.

“We’re worried that some people are struggling unnecessarily because they’re not on the best deal; live in homes that haemorrhage heat or are not getting all of the financial help available to them.”

Last November eight times as many people came to Citizens Advice for online advice on cutting their fuel bills compared to the previous November. And in 2011 we helped clientswith over 96,000 fuel debt problems. The Big Energy Week survey also found:

(See end for full fact file with more statistics)

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:

“We know that a lot of households are struggling to cope with rising energy costs. Many people could cut their gas and electricity bills by moving to a better deal with their existing supplier, switching to another supplier altogether, or by taking up home insulation offers. But we need to make sure consumers are aware of this and make it easier for them to take action to save money. That is why I am backing Big Energy Week. We want to get the advice and information out to as many consumers across the country as possible.”

At www.bigenergyweek.org.uk you can get advice on how to cut your fuel bill, helpful contact telephone numbers and links as well as find out what’s happening in your area. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureaux to for energy saving advice – the number will be in the phone book.  

Big Energy Week is helping people save money on their bills by encouraging them to:

Added Gillian:

“More and more people are coming to us for advice on how they can save money on their energy bills.  Through Big Energy Week we hope to help lots of people cut their fuel bills and ease their money worries.”

For more information contact:

press.office@citizensadvice.org.uk

Tel: 0207 833 7178 or 0207 833 7107  or 020 2833 7085

Our out-of-hours contact number: 0845 0990107

Wales press office: Warren Carr on 02920 694900

Scotland press office: Matt Lancashire on 0131 550 1062

There is also a Scotland, Wales and regional versions of this release available.

Events for media to attend

Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend the events – but will need a press pass for Westfield and St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff. Please contact press.office@citizensadvice.org.uk to arrange a press pass.

London

Westfield Shopping Centre, Shepherds Bush, London.

Monday 16 January 2012

9am-7pm

Ground floor, North Atrium, Westfield Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, London, W12 7GF (near Boots and next to Starbucks).

Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Gillian Guy Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, will arrive at the Westfield event between 11 and 11.30am.

Cardiff

The St David’s Centre, Cardiff

Monday 16 - Wednesday 18 January.

9.30am-6.30pm

By the entrance to M&S and Debenhams

John Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development will be attending the event at 10.30am on Monday 16 January.

There is also an event in Edinburgh. Please contact Citizens Advice Scotland for more information.

Other filming opportunities and case studies

Big Energy Week events across the country.

We have a limited number of case studies available for interview. These include people who are struggling with their energy bills and those who have cut their bills by insulating their home or made it more energy efficient.

Fact file

Big Energy Week survey findings*

Other statistics

Citizens Advice