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Price cap rise will be ‘heavy blow’ to household finances already hit by Covid

5 February 2021

Citizens Advice has responded to Ofgem’s latest update to the energy price cap which will see it increase by £96 for default tariff customers, and by £87 for pre-payment meter customers.

Alistair Cromwell, Acting Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“This increase will be a heavy blow to a lot of households. For many people on Universal Credit it will come at the same time as the £20 a week increase to the benefit is set to end.

“With a tough jobs market and essential bills rising, now is not the time for the government to cut this vital lifeline”. 


  • The £20 uplift would cover nearly a whole week (six days) energy costs for a below average income household

  • In December Citizens Advice research showed that 2.1million households were behind on their energy bills, 600,000 more than in February 2020.

  • The charity’s research also showed a quarter of all energy customers - up to seven million households - worry they won’t be able to pay their bill this winter.

  • Since 1 March 2020, Citizens Advice has supported more than 350,000 people with Universal Credit. A £20-a-week increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit is set to end on April 5.

Notes to editors

  1. £20 covering six days of bills for low income families based on Citizens Advice analysis of the Living Costs and Food Survey (2018-19) - estimated the number of days of energy that £20 would cover on average for UK households in the bottom half of the equivalised income distribution.
  2. 2.1m households behind and 7m concerned about their bills taken from Citizens Advice report Recovery or Ruin (December 2020)
  3. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  4. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  5. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  6. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.
  7. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  8. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit
  9. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.
  10. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  11. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.