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More than a third of Scots find energy bills unaffordable

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People face a perfect storm this winter, with rising bills following the increase of the energy price cap

More than one in three people in Scotland find energy bills unaffordable, according to new polling for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) by YouGov.

The research found 36% of people couldn’t afford their fuel bills.

Of these, 80% cited rising energy costs as a reason, with 65% saying the rising cost of living was a problem.

Meanwhile, 40% said low incomes was an underlying problem, with 24% stating their home being hard to heat was a factor.

The polling comes as people face a perfect storm this winter, with rising energy bills following the increase of the energy price cap, the crisis in the energy market seeing some suppliers go out of business, and falling incomes for people on Universal Credit.

CAS has launching Big Energy Saving Winter, a campaign encouraging people to get advice to tackle rising bills.

CAS fair markets spokesperson Kate Morrison said:“The fact that one in three people find their energy bills unaffordable is unacceptable, and what this research shows is that the underlying reasons can be varied and complex. From rising inflation and increased bills, to low incomes and homes that are hard to heat, people are struggling this winter – and these problems are likely to last well into 2022.  

“The crisis in the energy market also means that some routes to lower bills simply aren’t available. For example, switching supplier will likely just lead people to a higher tariff.

“However, our message is that the CAB network is here to help. We can check if you are entitled to any benefits or grants that you’re not currently claiming; we can talk to your energy company and re-structure any debt repayments you may have; and we can look at how better insulation can help you save money – and the planet at the same time!

“The Citizens Advice network helped over 171,000 people in Scotland during the pandemic and unlocked around £147 million for those clients. Among those who sought our advice on fuel bills, the ones who saw a gain were on average £272 better off after talking to us.

“So you don’t have to feel powerless about rising energy bills this winter.”

You can find out more here.