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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Supporting increased help for energy customers

Friday, May 18, 2012

Meg Munn MP has welcomed the joint Consumer Focus/Citizens Advice campaign which is designed to advise customers who are falling behind with their energy bills.

 

With people now receiving their winter energy bills new research from Consumer Focus shows 4 in 10 people across the country say their bill is even higher than last year. This is despite one of the mildest winters in a decade, which means a fall in energy consumption. Almost half of consumers (48%) say they plan to make cut-backs in order to pay their energy bill.

 

Consumer Focus and Citizens Advice warn that these unexpectedly higher bills could push more people into debt with their energy supplier particularly those on low fixed incomes, such as older people and families receiving benefits. The organisations are highlighting their awareness campaign Plug the Debt to help people know what to do and what their rights are when they fall behind on their energy bills. 

 

Meg said:

 

“Despite a mild winter many people are receiving high energy bills. It is worrying that people are being forced to cut back just to afford the basic costs of living. I hope this campaign will help people find out where to go for help.”

 

Consumer Focus and Citizens Advice are making people aware of the following five top tips if they fall behind with their bills:

 

1.    Always contact your energy firm as soon as you realise you might have trouble with paying.  Debts will build-up and be harder to pay off the longer you leave them. Your supplier has a responsibility to help you if you have problems paying your bill.

 

2.    Tell your energy supplier what you can afford to pay they have to take this into account in agreeing repayments of the money you owe.

 

3.    Ask your energy company, your local Citizens Advice Bureau or call the Home Heat Helpline 0800 33 66 99 to find out about other free energy help available.  For example you could qualify for a discount off your bill or free insulation to help your home stop leaking heat and cut your bills.

 

4.    Even if you are in debt you may still be able to switch to a cheaper deal with your current supplier, especially if you pay by cash, cheque or prepayment meter. If you pay by pre-payment meter and have less than 200 of debt you can also switch to a cheaper deal with another supplier.

 

5.    Financial help is available which could make it easier to afford your bills check you are receiving all of the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to by getting in touch with your local Citizens Advice Bureau or visiting www.adviceguide.org.uk  

 

Anyone who wants to find out more about getting help or advice through the ‘Plug the Debt’ campaign should visit www.consumerfocus.org.uk/plugthedebt or contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau.

 

Other advice and information

For impartial advice and information on energy issues get in touch with your local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.

 

Meg Munn MP has an energy factsheet on the website:

http://www.megmunnmp.org.uk/press-view-entry.asp?type=Views&id=405


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