‘The issue is getting too big’ Energy suppliers urged to intervene as bills rise to £2,800

World News

Pensioner says she won't be able to claim £400 energy rebate

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Jo Gilbert, the founder of not-for-profit consumer champion CUBES (Customer Utility Bills Expertly Serviced), has previously faced making difficult financial decisions to stay afloat. In 1998, the single mother managed to get out of an abusive relationship but ended up having to survive on only £104 a week in benefits. With inflation and energy bills on the rise, the consumer expert is warning that many families will face the same circumstances she had to deal with as the cost of living crisis worsens.

Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, Ms Gilbert explained: “When I was in fuel poverty, I wasn’t aware of any support available. It was a lonely, embarrassing, and isolating situation to be in.

“I was embarrassed to ask for help so I struggled and skipped meals or ate poorly.

“The only organisation I thought I could turn to at that point was the Citizens Advice Bureau, but that was for debt support, I didn’t know too much about them.

“The internet wasn’t as popular then.”

Wanting to get out of poverty, Ms Gilbert began working just a few hours a week at RWEN Power in order to qualify for working tax credits.

After this she worked for 10 years at Npower and worked her way up to becoming a project manager, eventually becoming an expert in the financial issues affecting consumers today when it comes to their bills.

The financial expert is urging energy companies to do more to mitigate the potential damage of future bill hikes.

She added: “As a minimum energy suppliers should be supporting consumers with income and expenditure assessments to determine affordability and then offering them a social tariff, payment breaks, significantly extended payment period for debt over years not months.

“The scale of this issue is getting too big for it to be something energy suppliers alone can resolve. This really does need Government intervention and support.”

Earlier this week, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised a new series of financial support packages to mitigate the impact of soaring inflation and energy bills.

Those in receipt of means-tested benefit payments, such as Universal Credit, will be eligible for a one-off cost of living payment worth £650.

Furthermore, pensioners are set to automatically receive a payment designed just for them which will come to £350.

There will also be a one-off payment solely for the usage of people who are classified as having a disability.

On top of this, the Government announced a universal discount on energy bills worth £400 which will replace the “buy now, pay later” loan introduced earlier in the year.

Sharing some advice with Express.co.uk, Ms Gilbert outlined how families can save money in the short term as these packages are rolled out.

She said: “Tip one: Wash your clothes in the cold setting. Washing detergent has advanced so much over recent years that we no longer need to wash our clothes at higher temperatures to get them clean. If you make this small change to choose the cold or no higher than 30 degrees setting when washing your clothes, you will save money.

“Tip two: Turn your water thermostat down a few degrees. If you find yourself adding cold water to your shower mixer tap or adding cold water whilst running a bath, then you can comfortably turn your water heat setting down a few degrees.

“Tip three: Don’t leave appliances on standby Whenever you leave an appliance on standby – rather than switching it off at the plug – it continues to drain energy.

“According to Energy Saving Trust research, between nine to 16 percent of the electricity consumed in homes is used to power appliances when they are in this standby mode. This wastage can add up to £86 to an annual electricity bill.”

Source: Read Full Article