Home Business News Millions are ‘going without heating and hot meals’ as they can’t afford to ‘pay their energy bill’

Millions are ‘going without heating and hot meals’ as they can’t afford to ‘pay their energy bill’

by Amy Johnson LLB Finance Reporter
23rd Jan 24 11:31 am

This winter more than two million people will have their electricity and gas cut off as they cannot afford to pay their energy bills.

Citizens Advice has said that they are concerned that for many people it will not be a “one off” experience having no gas and electricity.

They found that 1.7 million people were disconnected at least once a month in 2023, around 800,000 people had no power for 24 hours because they could not afford to pay their bills.

Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said: “Our frontline advisers are helping more people than ever who can’t pay their energy bill.

“Record numbers are in debt to their supplier and millions with a prepayment meter are too often going without heating and hot meals because they can’t afford to top up.

“The Government has not provided new energy bill support for those in need and has run out of time to develop the long-term approach it promised by April 2024.

“Without immediate action, we risk re-running this same crisis every winter.”

An Ofgem spokesman said: “Ofgem shares the concerns of Citizens Advice about the issue of rising debt and customers self-disconnecting from their energy supply amid the wider cost of living pressures.

“We already have introduced tougher rules to make sure that energy companies do more to spot the signs when a customer may be struggling and step in to offer support, including working out affordable payment plans and providing emergency credit to reduce the risk of self-disconnection.

“We work closely with Citizens Advice and other consumer groups and charities to address the issues people are facing and we will continue to explore more options to help struggling and vulnerable customers.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesman said: “We recognise the cost-of-living challenges families are facing, which is why we are spending £104 billion supporting households with their bills.

“While energy prices are lower than last winter, our Energy Price Guarantee remains in place to protect people until April, and we encourage anyone experiencing difficulties with their energy bills to speak with their supplier.

“We’re also continuing to support the most vulnerable, with three million households expected to benefit from the £150 Warm Home Discount, £900 for those on means-tested benefits, and an extra £150 for disabled people.”

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