Citizens Advice response to Scottish & Southern Energy PLC (SSE) price rises
21 July 2011
Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy said:
“Bureaux are already helping people with over 100,000 fuel debt problems every year, so these further price increases, particularly at a time when people are struggling to find work or facing a pay freeze, are likely to lead to more people getting into serious debt and hardship.
“We are already seeing people self-ration and self-disconnect as they can't afford their increasing fuel bills. As a result they are going without the heating they need and living in a cold home, which can have a devastating impact on their physical and mental health. Figures released last week revealed that 5.5 million people in the UK are living in fuel poverty and this is only going to get worse as prices rise.
“Fuel suppliers need to treat vulnerable customers and those in financial difficulties sympathetically and fairly. Anyone already in debt or worried about how they will pay their bill should get free 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.
“We are also urging the Government to make it an offence to let or re-let a property with an energy efficiency rating lower than an EPC band ‘E’ by 2016, to improve the energy efficiency of people's homes so that they are cheaper to heat.”
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.
* For more information on the Energy Best Deal campaign, go to:
Notes to editors
- 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
- 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
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.9 million problems from April 2011 to March 2012. For full 2011/2012 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- 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).
- Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,500 service outlets across England and Wales.